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North and South Connection is Vital
North and South Connection is Vitally Important

In the last issue of this newsletter, we talked about a connection between the South Corridor light rail and the proposed Multi-Modal Center (MMC) being planned on west Trade Street. We suggested a 10th Street alignment for this connection. There are a limited number of options out there, and we felt this would be a good one from the standpoint of development opportunities and service to the neighborhoods involved. What the vintage trolley has done for South End, we said light rail could do the same for North End.

Even more important than the exact alignment however is the absolute need that a seamless transfer between the South Corridor light rail and the proposed North Corridor regional rail be made. The most logical place for this connection to take place is the Multi-Modal Center on West Trade Street. Our reason for saying this is the fact there will be many people living in the north end of Mecklenburg County who will want to get to jobs in places such as Arrowwood or Westinghouse. Likewise, people living in South Charlotte may want to take advantage of an increasing number of jobs in places like the Huntersville Business Park. Right now these people are traveling back and forth on the congested I-77 every day. They are potential riders for both the future regional rail and light rail lines if their transfer from one to the other is a simple one at the Multi-Modal Center. However, if they are forced to go across Uptown on a shuttle bus to make that connection, many will just stay with their cars on I-77.

It is common knowledge in the transit industry that commuters will put up with one transfer to get to where they’re going, but when you make them transfer twice every trip, you will lose a high percentage of them. That means both the North and South Corridor rails will lose a sizeable number of potential riders.

After investing the amount of money we plan to spend on these two corridors, can we afford to turn away these riders for want of a connection just a little more than a mile long? We don’t think so!

We suggest we might start by making a detailed estimate of the number of people that live in one end of the county and work or make frequent trips to the other end, along the I-77 corridor. Maybe some of these figures are already available. We need to take into account those numbers are growing, and will continue to grow.

We were shocked to hear that there appears to be opposition to any connection between the rail corridors, or at the very least indifference to the idea. It seems that many people, including some civic leaders, do not see the urgent need for any connection. CEMT feels that it would he a huge loss of opportunity if this seamless rail transfer is not built. Both the North and South Corridors can expect to suffer the consequences. We therefore urge that this connection receive top priority.