A new South End light rail stop is planned to stop illegal level crossings

A sign on the Blue Line tracks in front of Sycamore Brewing warns passers-by not to cross. Photo: Alexandria Sands/Axios

The Charlotte area transit system is planning a multi-million dollar light rail station in the South End to keep people from dangerously crossing the tracks.

  • The problem area is roughly between Publix and Sycamore Brewing.
  • CATS executives point out that there are no crossings in this span for seven blocks, while the other South End stops are only a block or two apart. .

Details: The new light rail station will be built between New Bern and East/West stations.

  • VSATS engineers recommend a single passage between two staggered platforms and the accompanying segments of rail trails.
  • The two platforms will not be directly across from each other. Instead, one platform is planned in front of Publix and the other is offset further north, in front of Sycamore, connecting to a sidewalk on Hawkins Street.
Light Rail

Courtesy of CATS

The cost: We don’t know how much it will cost. Currently, CATS has a $1.9 million contract with Kimley-Horn & Associates for planning and design. It will estimate the total price in the next phase of the project, according to CATS.

  • The money will come from unspent reserves from the Blue Line extension, supplemented by private contributions.

Zoom out: When the Lynx Blue Line was built between 2005 and 2007, this part of the South End was more industrial than the bustling apartment and beer hall district it is today. “It really didn’t make sense to have a station in the area,” CATS lead engineer Todd Thorne said in a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday.

  • Since 2010, 7 million square feet of residences, 2.5 million square feet of office space, 300,000 square feet of retail and 70,000 square feet of hotel space have sprung up, according to CATS.

Chronology: CATS is in the early stages of planning for the new station and level crossing.

  • Environmental studies will continue in the fall, a necessary step to use federal funds.
  • Designs will take approximately 1.5 years.
  • Construction is expected to begin by the end of 2024. Two factors will prolong the project: working around the blue line in service and minimizing disruption to nearby businesses.
  • The station is expected to open in late 2026.

To note : The extra stop will slow a one-way train ride from the I-485 station to Uptown by about 90 seconds or less.

  • During construction there may be modified schedules, but trains will continue to run in both directions.

Read next story

CMS starts school year with hundreds of teaching vacancies

Jose P. Rogers