Last month, I took a day-long bus trip with several other area leaders and business folks to Charlotte to check out the first leg of their light rail system, the LYNX Blue Line. What an enhancement this is for their community!

We rode on most of the LYNX Blue Line, which provides light-rail service for 15 stops from I-485 to downtown Charlotte. We saw first-hand how land use was changing around the various stops, and the number of passengers that were using the rail. We also rode on an historic trolley in downtown Charlotte; the trolleys are a “special touch” that run on week-ends and for special events.

We also met with several Charlotte leaders and heard how they had accomplished the building of the LYNX Blue Line, and their plans to expand the light rail system in the city. They have a very coordinated effort to integrate their bus transit system as well as their land-use planning for economic development with the growth of the rail.

The success of Charlotte’s light rail system should give us pause as we continue our work on our triangle area long-range transportation plan. As Carrboro’s representative on the Transportation Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, I advocate for the viability of light rail and enhanced transit options in our community. What I saw in Charlotte only confirmed my belief in this.