The long-awaited streetcar opens Tuesday.
Okay, maybe it hasn’t been long-awaited. But it’s definitely opening.
Right now, my personal vacation in late july will include Atlanta & Charlotte. Other than theme parks, both have new streetcar systems
— JamieBOO Battle (@JamieBOObattle) June 24, 2015
//><!--The trolley will run all the way from the transportation center in uptown to Presbyterian Hospital in Elizabeth. Perfect for CPCC students too lazy to walk from one end of campus to the other.//--><!
Grand opening ceremonies begin with a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. The first public rides begin at 1 p.m.
Before you get in line, here are 7 surprising facts about Charlotte’s latest form of mass transit:
(1) It’s free! And, no ticket required! Easy, easy, easy.
(2) Well, it’s free to ride. It cost $37 million to build.
Charlotte spent (wasted?) $37 million on a streetcar that runs just 1.5 miles. Not likely to become a San Fran or NOLA. Identity confusion?
— William Reading (@readingmgt) July 12, 2015
(3) It runs every single day, even Sundays. As late until midnight on Friday and Saturdays. But if you’re staying out until the bars close, I guess there’s always Uber.
(4) The route is 1.5 miles long, has 6 stops and takes about 10-12 minutes one way. That’s roughly an 8-minute jogging pace.
(5) While the trolley has tracks, it shares the roads with cars. You won’t have to scoot to one side or do anything special just because a trolley is behind you. But know this: The trolley can’t stop on a dime, so try to avoid sudden braking if you’re in front of it and don’t tail too closely behind it.
(6) Developers are already salivating. While everybody else is making fun of the trolley, Grubb Properties has assembled all sorts of parcels along its line. It already has plans to build 550 apartments on Elizabeth Avenue. Folks are banking on the trolley spurring development like the Blue Line has done for South End.
(7) Maybe they’re onto something. Eventually the city hopes to build streetcar lines all the way out to the old Eastland Mall, up Beatties Ford Road, out Monroe Road and perhaps to the airport.
— Charlotte Observer (@theobserver) July 12, 2015
Photos: Charlotte Observer archives