Where should buses go in the new uptown Charlotte Transit Center?

The Charlotte City Council is moving forward with plans to build a new transit center in uptown Charlotte. The current Transit Center has been around since 1995, and leaders and riders say it is overdue for upgrades.

The City Council approved $2.9 million to begin the design process.

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“It’s a little gritty. It’s a little rough around the edges,” transit rider Krissy Oechslin said Monday. “Sitting in the hot sun in the summer is not pleasant. Sitting in the cold in the winter is not so great.”

Charlotte Area Transit System leaders say temperature swings from the open-air facility are one of the reasons why renovations are needed. CATS CEO John Lewis cited people who must dodge buses in the terminal to catch their next one and the lack of meaningful activity, such as retail, on Brevard Street. He also said it has poor connectivity to the streetcar and light rail.

“We are unable to adapt the Transit Center to the future mobility needs of our community,” Lewis said.

The Charlotte City Council has already spent millions to start designing the new Transit Center. The public-private partnership will bring another tower to uptown with retail and restaurant opportunities. The Charlotte Hornets may also have a practice facility in the building. But leaders say the transit part of the project is the most important.

“This is a transit project first,” Dodson said.

As for where the buses will be, there are three options: an elevated platform the same height as the Blue Line, at street level or underground with tickets to be required for entry.

The City Council wants the public’s opinion.

“I am really interested in hearing what the feedback is from our constituency to say how they feel about it,” Council member Marjorie Molina said.

Oechslin said she doesn’t have a preference. She wants council members to commute using public transit for the day to see what it is like.

“I think everyone on city council needs to go out and spend the day only using public transit,” she said. “I think they would really understand what it is like.”

While construction of the new facility takes place, a temporary facility will be in the parking lot next to the Transit Center. The temporary facility is expected to be open for two to three years. The new facility may open by 2028. CATS officials say they do not have a cost estimate for the project yet. They will bring back a recommendation in November.

CATS will hold pop-up meetings on the proposal Oct. 4 through Oct. 6 at the Transit Center.

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