Light Rail a Boon for Charlotte and Beyond

<p>Charlotte's light rail system has proven to be a major success in the city, spurring development and igniting the local economy. But as it expands, will the other communities it benefits join in the funding party?</p>
June 5, 2008, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"Back when urban junkies - myself included - dreamed that cities could center around train lines, we railed at the formula-oriented developers who could crank out only cul-de-sacs and subdivisions near the newest highway off-ramp. They ignored the possibility of putting apartment buildings and mixed-used projects beside a trolley line, even if a city could manage to get a rail line built."

"No longer. Now big international companies such as Cherokee Investment Partners, which is involved here in Charlotte, are poised - even eager - to swoop down, buy land and put up pedestrian-friendly businesses and homes around new transit stations. And they're being joined by plenty of competitors."

"Charlotte opened its $465 million, 15-stop, 10-mile "blue line" last November. LYNX, as it is called, has about 13,000 riders daily, well ahead of the low-ball federal projections. Now, the city and region are working on the many other ideas for lines and extensions. A total of 7,000 new condominiums are planned along the line."

"Seeing how successful Charlotte's new line is, I start believing what I first dismissed as hyperbole - that it was revolutionary."

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, June 1, 2008 in Governing
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email