South Corridor Stations
Now that the station locations have been decided one of the next things being considered is the design of these stations. The designs will probably be based to a considerable extent on the needs of the riders who will be using these stations. For example, close-in stations in the South End district will probably be patronized to a large degree by people walking to the station, or using bicycles or connecting buses. Therefore there will be little need for large parking lots. Some of these close-in stations may have little more than drive up lanes where people can drop off passengers at the station. The reverse will be true for stations further down the corridor toward Pineville. Here there will be a great need for parking space. Many of the new light rail systems have failed to allow enough parking and the result can be that it can put limits on potential ridership. The I-485 station, for example, may need a thousand or more parking spaces.
The town of Pineville has still not decided whether it wants light rail extended to its downtown Main Street district. Pineville business owners and some residents think light rail would help bring new life to downtown Pineville, creating a more diverse and vital retail center. However town officials say they are concerned it may cause too much growth, damaging the town’s present lifestyle. They have voted to give the issue further study before making any final decision. Transit chief Rob Tober said there needs to be enough development to make an extension to downtown Pineville well enough patronized to justify the cost of extending the line beyond I-485. Another decision that does appear to have been made is the location of a light rail maintenance facility. This facility is where most, if not all, light rail trains will be stored when not in service. It is also where maintenance and repairs to the trains will take place. The land identified for the facility is approximately 28 acres on South Tryon Street, south of Griffith Street, adjoining the city owned rail right-of-way to the northeast.
Currently the vast majority of this property is vacant, but does include one small business. The choice seems to be logical because it is the largest vacant property along the rail corridor close to uptown. Transit officials say the property should be more than adequate to meet their needs, however this may in fact depend on the number of transit corridors that are chosen to receive light rail.