The city of Charlotte broke ground on the new Blue Line Extension today, which will stretch from around 9th Street in Uptown (near the UNC Charlotte Center City Campus) to the main UNCC campus in the University City area. Among those present for the groundbreaking were North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, interim mayor Patsy Kinsey, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, Chancellor Dubois, and, of course, Norm.
The BLE will run 9.2 miles, doubling the length of the current LYNX light rail system that runs from Uptown to the southern end of I-485 near Pineville. It should provide easier access to the Uptown area for UNCC students that may have classes at both campus, as well as those looking for a night out on the town or headed to
Bobcats Hornets games various events –while saving a little gas and parking money in the process. Local businesses in the University City area as well as NoDa stand to benefit from the extension as well.
One big benefit that hasn’t been mentioned a ton is the new level of accessibility that is opened up for Charlotte 49ers fans that reside in the southernmost parts of the Charlotte area, namely Pineville, Matthews, Ballantyne, etc. Instead of hopping on I-485 or I-85, they can simply take light rail up from where they live to athletic events. Unless they’re tailgating from their own vehicles–in which case driving is the only option.
Things should be all wrapped up by 2017. If the city does this right, it should be a win-win for Charlotte, the University area and UNC Charlotte.