Coordinating committee prepares for arrival of light rail

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

UNC Charlotte is a vibrant, expanding institution, and the University is making plans for another transformational jewel in its crown.

 The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) LYNX Blue Line Extension (BLE) is an approximately nine-mile addition to the Queen City’s existing light rail service that will connect UNC Charlotte Center City and the main campus. There will be two stations that will provide service to the University. 

Scheduled for completion in summer 2017, the Blue Line Extension will add stations along the light rail’s path from I-485 at South Boulevard to its terminus, the UNC Charlotte Main Station across from Wallis Hall near the Student Union and the North Deck. A total of 11 new light rail stations will provide service along the extension.

As construction moves forward, contractors aren’t the only people on the job. UNC Charlotte is working behind the scenes to prepare the campus community for light rail.

The Light Rail Coordinating Committee (LRCC) was chartered by Chancellor Philip L. Dubois in 2015. Led by Beth Hardin, vice chancellor for business affairs, and Betty Doster, special assistant to the chancellor for constituent relations, the LRCC serves as UNC Charlotte’s planning team during the construction and introduction of the BLE to the University community.

The committee consists of four working groups: ridership, construction, security and communication. It is working closely with CATS and others to ensure that light rail is implemented for the convenience of students, staff, faculty, alumni and visitors.

UNC Charlotte’s Police and Public Safety Department will work with CATS security and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to ensure rider safety; the University ridership group is partnering with CATS to determine the cost of an access pass for members of the campus community and to develop a more robust campus shuttle system that coincides with the light rail schedule. Teams have joined forces to produce a ridership survey and an analysis of where members of the campus community commute from to determine demand for both bus and light rail ridership.

The communication group is developing a website dedicated to the BLE, expected to launch in late May. The LRCC also is developing a comprehensive internal and external communication plan.