Lynx Silver Line
|LYNX Silver Line|
|System||LYNX Rapid Transit Services|
|Locale||Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina|
|Termini||CPCC Levine (south)
Uptown/Gateway Station (north)
|Owner||Charlotte Area Transit System|
|Operator(s)||Charlotte Area Transit System|
|Line length||13.5 miles (21.7 km)|
The Silver Line is a proposed light rail extension for the LYNX network in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Silver Line, or Southeast Corridor, would serve as a light rail line between the CPCC Levine Campus in Matthews and the proposed Gateway Station in Uptown Charlotte.
It is proposed to follow a southeasterly path primarily along Independence Boulevard, as it extends through southeastern Mecklenburg County. To be built at a cost of over $1 billion, the line would be 13.5 miles (21.7 km) long and have 13 stations, 8-10 of which would be park-and-ride. Currently, there is no firm construction schedule in place.
The prospect of developing a light rail line between Matthews and Uptown along Independence Boulevard was initially evaluated in 1985. By 1997, the Charlotte City Council voted, at the recommendation of an independent transit panel, for the development of a busway in the median of Independence in lieu of light rail. The decision to develop a busway over light rail was based on overall costs of $126 million for a busway versus $300 million for light-rail. However, by 1999 delays in the construction of the busway resulted in a renewed grassroots effort of rail advocates to have light rail placed along Independence. As a result of this campaign, Representative Robin Hayes, who served as a member of the House Transportation Committee, to design the busway in such a manner as to be adapted for light rail when it can be economically justified. In 2002, the Metropolitan Transit Commission recommended that the Independence corridor see the construction, but that as part of the initial engineering studies, light rail accommodation be considered.
By 2006, a study released by the Charlotte Area Transit System indicated that the cost of light rail along the corridor would be roughly double that of a busway and have fewer riders. The estimates stated light rail on Independence would be 12.7 miles (20.4 km) in length at a cost of $585 million, with a projected ridership of 14,400 in 2030; and stated a busway would be 13.5 miles (21.7 km) in length at a cost of $315 to $325 million, with a projected ridership of 16,000 in 2030. In September, the MTC voted to delay on determining whether a busway or light rail should be built along the corridor until 2011.
By October 2012, the MTC had voted in favor of a busway on interior lanes of the highway. However, in May 2013, a 30-member funding task force suggested a light rail line instead, at an estimated cost of $1.7 billion. The 2006 study had estimated the line would be 13.5 miles (21.7 km) and be complete through Idlewild Road by 2022, to Sardis Road North by 2024 and finally to CPCC Levine by 2026. Additionally, the line would contain 3,350 parking spaces and 16 stations along the corridor at a cost of $582 million.
In September 2016, after three years of further studies and consultations with area residents, CATS settled on light rail as the most viable option for the Silver Line. At the time, however, CATS lacked any further sources of funding to invest in future projects. John Lewis, the system's CEO, said he would wait for the Blue Line Extension to begin service in August 2017 before resuming discussions on how best to fund the new lines. A possible option could be to have neighboring counties contribute towards project costs. The Silver Line would come within less than a mile of the Union County border at the CPCC Levine Station. Lynx Silver Line will have 13 stations with about 10 having park-and-ride stations.
- Harrison, Steve (September 14, 2016). "CATS unveils new route for Silver Line along Independence Boulevard". The Charlotte Observer.
- "Destination 2030". Charlotte Area Transit System. p. 10. Retrieved 2007-06-25.
- Israel, Mae (August 8, 1985). "County rail system ahead?". The Charlotte Observer. pp. Metro 1.
- Whitacre, Dianne (April 27, 1997). "Transit experts endorse busways". The Charlotte Observer. pp. 1B.
- Whitacre, Dianne (March 21, 1999). "Rail boosters energized by busway's woes". The Charlotte Observer. pp. 1B.
- Whitacre, Dianne (November 16, 2002). "Hayes says keep rail in picture". The Charlotte Observer. pp. 4B.
- Rubin, Richard (July 26, 2006). "Costs could derail hopes on East Side". The Charlotte Observer. pp. 1A.
- Rubin, Richard (September 28, 2006). "Rail? Bus? Neither for now". The Charlotte Observer. pp. 1A.
- Harrison, Steve (October 15, 2012). "Light-rail extension moves to fast track; CATS to announce federal funding for uptown-to-UNCC line". The Charlotte Observer.
- Harrison, Steve (May 6, 2013). "Group suggests new transit tax, private help". The Charlotte Observer.