When Good Transit Ideas Go Bad

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Aug 112013
 

So much for the grand plans for the Intermodal Transportation Center that we were all looking forward to in North Charleston. You know, that brand new railway transit passenger station that would connect Amtrak with the airport and the bus lines and other ways of getting in to, out of, and around the lowcountry?

CARTA Intermodal Transit RenderingMore than 15 years ago, planning began for an Intermodal Transportation Center that would, among other things, allow Amtrak to leave its outmoded station in North Charleston. Now the push is to upgrade the old train station site for that purpose, despite having spent $10 million on the ITC property on Montague Avenue.

Apparently, there’s no way the 36-acre site can be developed as intended because of a fundamental conflict with Amtrak and CSX rail that would cost a staggering $25 million to fix.

The dilemma has local officials asking the Federal Transit Authority, which put up the money for the project, for permission to abandon the Montague Avenue site in favor of the old train station. Charleston County Councilman Elliott Summey tells us that ongoing conversations with the FTA are encouraging, and he expects a decision soon. Mr. Summey also is chairman of CARTA’s board.

This story comes to us from the Post & Courier. Please see the full article there –
How did transit plan go so wrong?

Light Rail Along I-26 Corridor

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Feb 212013
 

A federally-funded study is evaluating various transit solutions for the congested Interstate 26 freeway corridor at Charleston and the options include light rail, commuter rail, maglev and monorail, among others, The Post and Courier reports. At issue is a 25.4 mile stretch of I-26 from Charleston to suburban Summerville where, all commuters now, traffic is constantly snarled and slow moving.

The article by Prentiss Findlay is titled  “High-speed trains, ferries, monorails a prescription for I-26 congestion?” and is available on the Post & Courier’s website.

I-26 Congestion

Amtrak Add Motor Coach Service to Eastern North Carolina

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Jun 182012
 

Amtrak officials plan to expand the agency’s Thruway Motor Coach service to eastern North Carolina as part of an effort to expand access to rail services.

AmtrakThe proposed Thruway Motor Coach service will provide service from eastern North Carolina to the Amtrak station in Wilson, N.C.

At the Wilson station, passengers can connect with the Palmetto, which operates two trains daily between New York City and Savannah, Ga., and also access Amtrak’s national system.

The proposed Thruway routes will serve colleges and universities, major military installations and a number of cities and communities that have limited intercity public transportation options, Amtrak officials said in a prepared statement.

Amtrak is working with the communities to secure service stops at each location and refine schedules, and anticipates launching the expansion later this year, they said.

Wilkinson Named as CARTA Director

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Dec 272011
 

CARTAThe Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority named Christine Wilkinson its executive director Wednesday, according to a news release. Wilkinson was CARTA’s interim executive director after taking over following Howard Chapman’s retirement in June.

“Christine Wilkinson is a strong leader and has done a great job in her time as interim executive director,” said Elliott Summey, CARTA board president. “She has been with CARTA since the beginning and knows the system, the area and is extremely qualified for the position.”

CARTA ridership has increased 14%, and more than 15,000 passengers ride CARTA routes on an average workday, the organization reported.

NCDOT to Hold Public Hearings for Proposed Rail Improvements

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Dec 022011
 

The N.C. Department of Transportation‘s Rail Division will hold two informal design public hearings on Monday, Dec. 12, and Tuesday, Dec. 13, regarding proposed track and rail crossing improvements between south of Concord and Charlotte. The 12-NC Locomotivemile stretch of second track is a part of the railway Raleigh to Charlotte Piedmont Improvement Program and is proposed along the North Carolina Railroad and Norfolk Southern.

The first meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12, at Hickory Ridge High School (Commons area) located at 7321 Ragin’ Road in Harrisburg. The Tuesday, Dec. 13, meeting will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Charlotte Friends Meetinghouse (Meeting Room) located at 570 West Rocky River Road in Charlotte.

The proposed project would include the construction of an additional track adjacent to the existing railroad track along the NCRR/NS from south of N.C. 49 near Concord to Orr Road in northeast Charlotte. As part of the project, new bridges also are proposed to separate automobile and train traffic.

The environmental assessment document (EA) prepared for this project and a copy of the maps are available for public viewing at the following locations:

  • NCDOT District 2 Engineer’s Office, 7605 District Drive in Charlotte; and
  • Harrisburg Town Hall, 4100 Main Street, Suite 101.

WiFi Now Available on Amtrak

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Nov 042011
 

AmtrakConnectFree Wi-Fi is now available on many of their routes and in stations so you can surf the web or get business done while traveling. For a list of the conditions, restrictions, and further details check out their Wi-Fi AmtrakConnect page. You can also read on further here for the text of press release…

When it comes to travel, Amtrak® does more than just connect you with your destination, they now keep you connected so that you’re able to take care of business en route. As a way to better serve you, Wi-Fi® is now available via AmtrakConnect on more routes.

In addition to having great amenities, you’re now able to stay online while riding select routes. Using Wi-Fi® is as simple as finding the AmtrakConnect network when aboard, agreeing to the terms of use and connecting. You’ll have the convenience of responding to emails, catching up on work, preparing for your next big meeting or just surfing the web for your favorite sites. Also keep your devices charged with our onboard outlets. Now you can do more when you ride Amtrak.

Routes currently offering Wi-Fi® via AmtrakConnect include:
• Northeast RegionalSM
• Ethan Allen Express®
• Maple LeafSM
• CarolinianSM
• VermonterSM
• Adirondack®
• Keystone Service®
• Empire Service®
• PalmettoSM
• New Haven-Springfield Shuttle
• Amtrak DowneasterSM
• PennsylvanianSM 

Onboard Wi-Fi® via AmtrakConnect provides a completely different experience in business travel. Connect to more of what matters online and make it easier to do more when you’re on the go.

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