|Benefits of a Unified Transportation Center
Wouldn't it be great to have one focal point in Charlotte that would tie together every mode of public transportation? Impossible, some might say! However, that is exactly what is being proposed at our Multi-Modal Transit Center (MMC) on West Trade Street. How could you bring together at one central location all these widely scattered services? The key element seems to be just the right location and a plan that uses a little common sense thinking. The location is West Trade Street where it intersects the main line of the Norfolk Southern railway tracks. Amazingly enough this is the site of the original old Southern Railway Charlotte depot, before it was moved to North Tryon Street back in the 1960s. We now have one element of the transportation puzzle--Amtrak and commuter/regional rail. Part of this same site is presently occupied by the Charlotte Greyhound bus terminal. Here is the second element needed--intercity bus service, which will feed and enhance rail service. Bus service will offer connections to a greater variety of destinations.
To this mix we could then add local transit service, both bus and future light rail. The local bus service could be part of the system that currently circulates around the center city area. It would be very important to connect the Multi-Modal Center (MMC) to the present bus transit center at Trade and Brevard Streets, so that passengers can transfer between long distance transportation services and local transit destinations. Light rail transit also needs to be brought into the MMC. The planned South Corridor light rail line, which will share right-of-way with the Charlotte Trolley through the Uptown area, needs to be brought around the north end of the Center City to connect with the Norfolk Southern main line corridor, and on down to the MMC. How this could be accomplished is the subject of a separate article appearing in this newsletter.
Future light rail corridors might extend to the University area, and to the airport. Light rail from Uptown to the airport would not only provide a fast direct link between these destinations, it would provide the opportunity to establish a downtown airlines terminal within the MMC, where people could purchase airline tickets before boarding light rail for a trip to the airport. They would then avoid the long lines at the airport ticket counters. This would then put the final elements of transit in place, brining together all modes of transportation at our MMC.
Having a unified transportation center under one roof will be a great aid to Charlotte's Center City. It will be located only a few blocks from the Square, Ericsson Stadium and the proposed future Charlotte Coliseum and baseball park. It will be at the doorstep of the Gateway Center development, and will make the fast growing Third and Fourth Ward residential developments even more attractive places in which to live than they already are.
The Multi-Modal Transportation Center will be a win/win situation for everyone. By putting together all these transportation options we not only aid the commuter and long distance traveler, we stimulate residential, retail and entertainment development in the Charlotte Center City area. (See CEMT Pushes for Light Rail Connection)