Charlotte's newest light rail extension connecting UNCC to south Charlotte opens Friday

(Coleen Harry | WBTV)
(Coleen Harry | WBTV)
(Coleen Harry | WBTV)
(Coleen Harry | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Blue Line light rail extension officially opens Friday morning. This means you'll be able to hop on the light rail in south Charlotte and ride to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in northeast Charlotte.

The goal of this light rail extension is to give commuters including college students more options for transportation. It also means opportunity for crime in new areas

The extension will only be a success if riders feel safe so officers are doing all they can to make that happen.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police are using lessons learned from the past and applying them to the Lynx Blue Line Extension.

It's no secret that light rail stops can attract crime. As a result, police have cameras and security towers at these stops.

"We've added cameras," UNC Charlotte Police Chief Jeffrey Baker said. "We have two cameras there and we also have cameras at the portal. Those cameras will feed into our dispatch center so that we can also have eyes up in the dispatch center as well."

CMPD is taking extra security measures as riders take advantage of the new extension. Security has been upgraded on UNC Charlotte's campus, especially on the train's platform.

Chief Baker says there are also blue light phones that ring directly to the dispatch center. UNC Charlotte has also hired additional police officers.

The CATS Blue Line Extension officially opens at 10 a.m. Trains will operate every eight minutes during rush hour.

CATS CEO John Lewis and UNC Charlotte Vice Chancellor Dr. Kevin Bailey plan to ride the train from UNC Charlotte to 9th Street Station. Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles will then be waiting at the station for them.

The opening of the Blue Line light rail extension correlates with the start of the NCAA March Madness.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the $1.1 billion extension is the most expensive public works project in the city's history and will double the amount of light rail in the city.

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