CHARLOTTE – Sharon Bickler hovered over a map of the Pineville and Ballantyne areas April 13 looking for the best spots to place stickers indicating where she’d like to go via rapid transit.
The exercise, held at The Ballantyne hotel, was part of the Charlotte Area Transit System’s outreach into the community as it explores extending transit into these fast growing areas.
In the late 1990s, Pineville preferred the LYNX Blue Line end at I-485. Town leaders have had a change of heart, adopting a resolution in the fall to extend rapid transit into its community, according to CATS Planner Jason Lawrence.
“I’ve always was upset that it didn’t go into Pineville before,” Bickler said. “All they had to do was curve it along and bring it up to Ballantyne. Now I’m hearing about it, I was like ‘oh my god – they are actually doing it.’”
Rapid transit can include anything from light rail, street car and bus rapid transit. CATS is gauging the best mode of transit based on feedback received from map exercises and survey results.
Surveys ask people to rank their needs for rapid transit in terms of connecting to work (Uptown and not uptown, the airport, entertainment, as well as peak time travel and all-day travel.
People can also rank factors such as cost, frequency, reliability, travel time and walking distance to destinations.
The survey asks what the most important location for a rapid transit station in the Ballantyne area, including options for Ballantyne Village, Brixham Hill Avenue, MetLife/Community House Road and Aloft/Ballantyne Corporate Place.
The survey asks the same question for Pineville, including answers for downtown and Carolina Place Mall.
CATS wants to know how people prefer to approach such stations, whether that is by foot, bike, bus or car.
Another round of public meetings begin next month to refine the community’s preferences in the rapid transit corridor.
Meetings will be held 6 to 7:30 p.m. May 8 at the Belle Johnston Community Center, 1000 Johnston Drive, Pineville, as well as 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 11 at The Ballantyne hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy.
CATS will present rapid transit recommendations to the public in June.
The Pineville-Ballantyne Rapid Transit Study is part of a larger effort, dating back to 2016, to update its 2030 Transit System Plan. The plan calls for bus rapid transit to Lake Norman and light rail from Belmont to Matthews.
CATS also is starting a regional transit plan this year with 12 counties across two states, Lawrence said. This will include future extensions of light rail into Union, Gaston and Cabarrus counties, as well as future commuter rail network and improved bus service.
Visit www.ridetransit.org to share input.