The Charlotte StreetCar Project has completed 65% of the design work, and expects to have 100% completion within the next 3 - 4 weeks. This will allow the project to move forward, though the actual start date for most of the in street construction will not begin until after the DNC in September of 2012.
Go Here to their site for more information as to the facts and overview of the project. But in a nutshell, this phase of the project will run from the Transportation Mall down East Trade / Elizabeth Street to Presbyterian Hospital, turn left to East Fifth Street, and then return. This overall segment will be 1.5 miles. A 1/2 mile segment of this has already been completed through the CCCP Campus and up to the Hospital.
The overall cost for this project is around $35 million, and many complain that it is a waste!
My belief is that it is forward thinking. We have seen fluctuations in the price of gas, and every time it reaches $4 a gallon, ridership increases on all forms of public transportation. Switching to electric powered vehicles or hybrids will help, but not enough. When we reach the breaking point for gasoline prices, it will be too late to start an intelligent transit system.
Additionally, the hard rail system that the StreetCar will be part of will be permanent. It will spur development along its route. Myers Park was created as a street car suburb as was Dilworth. No homes were more than 3 blocks to a transit stop. Those communities became, and still remain, important. Look also at the development created along the LYNX Blue Line running through the South End.
This important connection for West Charlotte to meet with East Charlotte will take riders to the Government Center, the central business community, transportation links, Presbyterian Hospital, Central Piedmont Community College, Johnson & Wales University, Johnson C. Smith University and the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. It will be a huge connector.
This will be a great addition to a growning city.