Streetcar to start humming through uptown by 2015, officials say - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Streetcar to start humming through uptown by 2015, officials say

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The first segment of Charlotte's streetcar line is set to begin running in March of 2015, city engineers told a group of city residents Thursday evening.

The 1.5-mile segment will run from the Charlotte Transportation Center down Trade Street out to Presbyterian Hospital in Elizabeth.

The city's Department of Engineering & Property Management is responsible for building the 10-mile streetcar line, which will run from Rosa Parks Place in West Charlotte through Uptown out to the old Eastland Mall.

Once completed, the Charlotte Area Transit System will operate the line, officials said.

The $37 million starter segment is being paid for with a $25 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The city will pay the remaining $12 million.

CATS will use its three city-owned Gomaco replica trolleys to run on the segment until the city purchases more modern equipment, officials said.

The six stops will include CTC/Arena, Davidson Street, McDowell Street, CPCC, Elizabeth Avenue at Hawthorne Lane and Hawthorne Lane at 5th Street.

The three stops along Trade Street will be in the middle of the road while the remaining stops in Elizabeth will be street side.

City officials said it unclear whether the first part of the Streetcar line will be free for riders or not. Also unknown is what impact to traffic the line will have.

For most of the line, there is no way for traffic to move around a stopped streetcar. City officials compared it to following a bus.

City Manager Curt Walton has proposed a large chunk of his proposed billion dollar infrastructure plan to expanding the streetcar line out further across Independence Boulevard in the east and out to Johnson C. Smith University in the west.

City engineers hope to break ground to complete the first segment in December. Another public meeting to update the plan is scheduled for November.

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