Charlotte Transportation Summit Recap | CLT Blog
Mayor Pat McCrory

Charlotte Transportation Summit Recap

Posted on 17 Aug 2009 by James Willamor

Mayor Pat McCrory

Mayor Pat McCrory. photo: James Willamor; view this photo on Flickr

Community leaders and experts met Friday, August 14th, at the Westin Hotel to discuss the present and future of Charlotte’s transportation and air quality. The Charlotte Transportation Summit was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte Business Journal.

Update:  The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce has now posted Powerpoint slideshows and audio from the summit.

Highlights of the summit after the break:

Mayor Pat McCrory:

  • More people are using mass transit in the U.S. than at any point in the past 50 years.
  • Fifteen years ago we were visiting other cities see how they do it, now cities are coming to Charlotte to see how we do it.
  • It’s not just process and vision, but integration. It’s not just roads, not just transit, not just buses, and not just sidewalks. If they are not planned together, they will fail together.

Mecklenburg-Union MPO — Barry Moose:

  • The last leg of I-485 will really be two projects — the stretch of Interstate and the interchange with I-85. The interchange is expected to be the busiest in the sate when completed.

NC Turnpike Authority — Steve Dewitt:

  • Monroe Connector will be a 4 lane divided highway from I-485 to the Monroe Bypass. Planning, environmental work is under way with completion in early 2010. If funding can be secured, it will open to traffic in 2013.
  • Garden Parkway – Will be a highway from I-85 to I-485/NC 160 near Charlotte-Douglas international airport. Planning will be in late 2010 and will open to traffic in 2014 if funding can be secured.

Charlotte Department of Transportation — Danny Pleasant:

  • Bonds help fund streets, intersections, sidewalks, street lights, bikeways, and signal systems. In 2008, 3 of 4 voters approved the street bond referendum.
  • With the 20082010 bonds the city expects to plan, design, and/or construct 8 miles of roads, 10 intersection projects, 29 miles of sidewalk projects, 10 miles of bikeways per year, 200 signal timings per year.

CATS interim chief — John Muth:

  • Bus service is and always will be the backbone of CATS. Bus fleet includes 324 vehicles, 7 of which are hybrid. Anti-idling policies have improved fuel consumption by 6%.
  • The 2030 plan is no longer feasible due to deceased income from the 1/2 cent sales tax. The economy will need to stabilize and then the plan will need to be reevaluated.
  • The Sprinter enhanced bus service from Uptown to the airport is set to debut this Fall. This service will feature 5 new hybrid buses with business traveler amenities such as luggage accommodation. There will be 18 stops with 3 of them located Uptown.
  • Original projects for LYNX ridership was 9,100 a day. Ridership so far has averaged 14,000 to 17,000 a day.

NC DOT Rail Division — Pat Simmons:

  • 27% of greenhouse gases come from transportation, but only 3% of that 27% come from cargo and passenger rail service.
  • High speed rail between Charlotte and Raleigh could cut the travel time to as low as 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport aviation director — Jerry Orr:

  • Charlotte-Douglas is the 9th busiest airport in the world in terms of operations, and the 14th busiest in terms of passengers.
  • The airport currently has 23,000 parking spaces, which averages 15,000 cars a day average. The airport also uses 2 hybrid shuttle buses and electric vehicles. A cell phone lot reduces people driving around while waiting.

photos: James Willamor; view this slideshow on Flickr


  1. Vera 17 Aug 2009 at 10:59 PM

    I moved to Houston from Charlotte last summer and I really miss the light rail. Houston’s just too big with too much traffic.

  2. Jessica 20 Aug 2009 at 2:14 PM

    What a nice recap — thank you for posting this for the public to read. I’ve been in Charlotte (husband’s job relocated from Portland, OR) for just over a year and by far, one of our biggest frustrations has been the lack of sidewalks, adequate public transit and cycling options.

    I hope to see our community leaders take an active role in advocating alternate transportation (ie: City Council members, et al riding bicycles or taking the bus to work); maybe they can spot faults in the system and gain better understanding in how to move forward.

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