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On-street testing of Charlotte’s streetcar underway this week

Charlotte Area Transit System officials were out this morning, Tuesday, April 7, 2015 testing the new CityLynx Gold Line streetcar as a part of the first phase of construction. The streetcar traveled along Caldwell Street to Trade Street, operating alongside uptown traffic.
Charlotte Area Transit System officials were out this morning, Tuesday, April 7, 2015 testing the new CityLynx Gold Line streetcar as a part of the first phase of construction. The streetcar traveled along Caldwell Street to Trade Street, operating alongside uptown traffic. ogaines@charlotteobserver.com

The first phase of Charlotte’s streetcar is closer to reality: On-street testing started Tuesday and is expected to continue Wednesday, the Charlotte Area Transit System said.

Pedestrians, drivers and cyclists are asked to be careful during tests. The streetcar cannot swerve to avoid people or vehicles in its way. The streetcar is scheduled to open in June.

Drivers who park along Trade and Elizabeth should park within solid white parking lines, or they could face a citation or towing.

Where it goes

The first phase runs 1.5 miles from the Charlotte Transportation Center to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center. It has six stops and will use existing replica trolley vehicles. The first phase of the CityLynx Gold Line, as it will be called, will be free to ride.

First segment’s cost

$37 million, with $25 million paid for by a federal grant.

What’s next

The second phase would extend the line to Johnson C. Smith University to the west and the Elizabeth neighborhood to the east.

The city recently was recommended for a $75 million federal grant in President Barack Obama’s budget. The city’s share of the streetcar would be $75 million. But some council members want to re-examine it, given a tight city budget.

Marusak: 704-358-5067;

Twitter: @jmarusak

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