Charlotte, NC — Streetcar Service Begins
The Charlotte Observer reported that Charlotte’s Lynx Gold line, the first street car line in 77 years, was introduced on July 14, after a ribbon-cutting highlighted by an enthusiastic speech from former mayor and current U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
Foxx, who as mayor was a major supporter of the street car, said the project would spark economic development and could help close racial and economic divisions in the city. The ceremony, held at the city’s bus terminal because of rain, attracted public officials, some business leaders and members of teh public.
The street car’s first passenger trip transported about 50 people, including the media and city officials. Three hours later the service was opened to the public.
“The Charlotte Lynx Gold Line is a catalyst for economic development,” said Charlotte City Council member Patsy Kinsey, a Democrat.
Early development is already coming to life. Grubb Properties, which owns about 12 acres along Elizabeth Avenue, is restarting long-delayed plans to overhaul the street, which was one of the routes for Charlotte’s original streetcar lines. They plan to build 550 apartments on vcant land at Elizabeth Avenue and North Torrence Street. Included will be up to 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and construction is set to start by the second quarter of 2016.
Last month, the Knight Foundation, citing the streetcar as a key motivator, pledged $1.5 million toward revitalizing the western part of the streetcar route, in the area around Johnson C. Smith University.