Sustain Charlotte urges Silver Line and Charlotte Transportation Center redevelopment planning to prioritize equity

Members of the Metropolitan Transit Committee in session

This week, the Metropolitan Transit Commission voted to move forward with redevelopment plans for the Charlotte Transportation Center (CTC) and discussed an alignment evaluation for the center city portion of the future Silver Line light rail.

We remain committed to advocating for equity in all transportation investment decisions and applaud progress toward meeting the transportation and mobility needs of residents throughout the Charlotte region.

Charlotte Transportation Center Redevelopment

As this project moves forward, we believe safety and equity should be central to plans for moving the transit center underground. Here are the questions about the CTC redevelopment we’d like to see answered.

  • What will the city and the Charlotte Area Transit System do to guarantee that the planned features and amenities of the concourse are built, maintained and monitored even if construction, maintenance, and operations costs escalate?

  • How is CATS planning the design of the concourse and budgeting for appropriate technology and personnel to ensure that this secured access works seamlessly to provide riders with a high level of safety and comfort?

  • Will the public-private partnership for the concourse CTC include a contract agreement that CATS will perpetually have the right for the CTC to be at this location, even if the private portion of the property changes ownership or the new building itself is redeveloped in future decades?

  • How much federal funding and state/local match are required to make the concourse and redevelopment plans financially feasible? Would a reduced amount change the projected project timeline, design and amenities for riders and operators?

Silver Line Alignment

For years, Sustain Charlotte has advocated for a LYNX Silver Line alignment that prioritizes ridership over development. Of the three alignment options for the proposed Silver Line that CATS has considered, we think interlining with the Gold Line streetcar with a dedicated right-of-way through uptown would be best from a ridership perspective, connecting riders to jobs and other destinations and intersecting with the CTC and Gateway station. We believe it would be more competitive for federal funding, which is critical.

The Metropolitan Transit Commission heard a staff presentation about the Silver Line center city alignment evaluation. We urge CATS and the city to consider these equity-focused questions for planning of the locally preferred alternative (adopted in January 2022) that would bring the Silver Line along 11th Street rather than through the heart of uptown:

  • What conditions would need to be met (public and private investment, possible changes to Interstate 277 itself, restoration of bike and pedestrian connectivity to north Charlotte neighborhoods across the interstate) to actually create the density of commercial and residential development to generate high ridership? Will the city create, fund, and implement a plan to ensure that this area develops sustainably and equitably by the time the Silver Line opens to riders?

  • What will be done to ensure that the walk between the stations is accessible for people with disabilities and that it meets the Charlotte WALKS Pedestrian Plan goals of being safe, inviting and useful?

In the news

Following the MTC meeting, Sustain Charlotte shared our perspective with media outlets because we believe it is important for these concerns to be part of the public conversation. Here are some articles that included our take on these projects.

Thanks for reading!

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