The Blue Line Extension, or Northeast Corridor, is an extension of the successful LYNX Blue Line light rail service. The 9.3-mile alignment extends from Ninth Street in Center City through the North Davidson (NoDa) and University areas, terminating on the UNC Charlotte campus.
Light Rail Updates
- The Blue Line Extension is scheduled to open in 2017 and within budget.
- The Blue Line Extension will add an additional 11 stations and 9.3 miles to the existing system, for a total of 26 stations 18.6 miles of congestion-free commute.
- A daily weekday ridership of 51,000 riders is predicted for the Blue Line by 2035.
- It is projected that the Blue Line Extension will result in 119,000 fewer daily Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMTs) in the Northeast Corridor.
- Track and systems construction for the Blue Line Extension began in July 2014. Improvements to the North Tryon area that are underway or beginning soon include replacement of the Mallard Creek bridge, lengthening of the Eastway Bridge, and grade separations at 36th St and Sugar Creek.
- By 2035, the 11 new light rail stations are projected to have:
- Over 10,000 new housing units.
- Over 3.8 million square feet of new office.
- Over 1.3 million square feet of new retail.
Light Rail Facts
- Light rail vehicles operate primarily along exclusive rights of way and have vehicles capable of operating as a single train or as multiple units coupled together.
- Over the decade 1990-2000, total passenger-miles carried by US public transit increased at a very impressive pace – nearly 16%, or over 6.5 billion passenger-miles. Of that growth, approximately 84% is accounted for by rail transit systems.
- Light rail vehicles can travel in multi-car trains carrying a theoretical ridership up to 20,000 passengers per hour. Simple arithmetic shows that in order to carry 20,000 automobile commuters per hour per direction, a freeway would have to be at least 18 lanes wide.
- Light rail lines in different cities have various policies on bicycles. Bicycles are allowed on LYNX Blue Line light rail cars in Charlotte.
When complete, the Blue Line will cover 18.6 miles from I-485 to the UNC Charlotte campus.
Light Rail Resources
- The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) website includes updates on the Blue Line Extension, construction information, and a project overview.
- Read EcoWatch‘s article Light Rail Benefits Economy and Environment – Why Oppose It? for a review of efforts to build a light rail system to connect the Triangle region.
- Rail for the Valley’s blog shares information about how light rail projects around the world benefit urban communities.
- Interested in light rail success stories from other cities? LightRailNow! offers a comprehensive list.
- The Light Rail Transit Association (LRTA) is a nonprofit UK-based organization concerned with the achievement of better public transportation through rail transit.