CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Phase 3 of the CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar system was green-lit by the Charlotte City Council at Monday's meeting. The plan is to extend the track into both east and west Charlotte. There was major pushback by much of the council, with some saying they voted yes but were not happy to do so given the glaring issues.
Looking at the streetcar, some said it's not too complicated and the path to success, like the car, is a straight line.
"We have an impressive track record in this community in spending money on stuff that doesn't make sense," Council Member Tariq Bokhari said.
But there are a lot of twists and turns that threw a kick in the success of the line. Still, the council voted to approve the $4.3 million project 10-3.
The Gold Line will be expanded to both the Rosa Parks Transit Center and Eastland. At the meeting, many on the council highlighted the problems during Phase 2. Despite being free, ridership is down. CATS reported only 1,400 people on average use the car per day.
There have also been reports of parked cars blocking the tracks, making it impossible for the streetcar to get by, creating delays.
Community members like Diane Voss voiced their concerns and said redoing a plan or ripping up the road is irresponsible.
“It is not practical, it’s wasteful, it’s just… unacceptable," Voss said.
A spokesperson for CATS said they know there are problems and are seeking solutions to not only fix the problems from Phase 2, but to ensure they won't happen in Phase 3.
First, CATS is adding a real-time tracking app. This will show riders where the streetcars are within the route, allowing travelers to plan for delays. Also, there are ideas of creating "right of way signals" to make sure the car only has green lights ahead.