The Charlotte Area Transit System has pitched a rebuild of the Charlotte Transportation Center with two options, an underground multimodal hub, or a two-story hub at ground level. This rebuild would replace the current transportation center that has long been located at East Trade and Brevard Streets in the heart of Uptown. This prime real estate makes moving underground make sense so retail and offices can take over the ground level and upper floors. The two-story option would be easier to ventilate, and would not have some of the security concerns of an underground option.
The CTC originally opened in 1995 as the premier facility for riders. Originally it served the purpose of eliminating buses from stopping on the busy intersection of Trade and Tryon Streets where they used to back up traffic. As the years have passed, numerous deficiencies have been coming to light including pedestrian safety issues, limited climate-controlled comfort areas for passengers, limited accessibility to the LYNX Blue Line, and little to no street frontages.
The Charlotte Transportation Center or CTC redesign will make it a hub for bus route transfers, and where the Gold Line and the Blue Line intersect. This would make it a showplace for CATS, and at the same time would make it much more functional for riders.
The project is expected to take private as well as public money to complete. CATS is working with local firm White Point Partners as well as out of state firm Dart Interests to finalize the plan. White Point Partners was the developer for Optimist Hall. They have collected feedback from 400 riders on such topics as heating, air conditioning, lighting. Based on the feedback, the underground option has a slight edge.
The underground option or “concourse” would be the most secure option. It would be all one level making the job of security cameras and security personnel easier. There are worries that being tucked below ground would be an opportunity for people who do not mean well.
The two-level plan or “terrace” would allow direct access to the light rail. This plan does have a big drawback of crossing over 4th street which could be dangerous to pedestrians.
A third option has been dismissed as of this time. This third option would have been a rebuild of the center as it currently exists, but with the addition of an office tower on top. This plan would not have addressed the concerns of riders which included protection from the weather, and air-conditioning for waiting passengers. It would also have unsafe pedestrian crossings.
Once the planning phase is complete, and the final plan chosen, construction will commence. This is expected to occur in 2024 and would be the construction of a temporary transit center. The permanent structure would break ground in 2025 with completion expected in 2028. This leaves plenty of time for refinement of the plan before construction is to start. More community meetings are expected in the near future. If you would like more information, check out the CATS website.