While the LYNX light-rail line has transformed North Tryon Street, the biggest changes will likely occur at UNC Charlotte, as a recent campus forum underscored. A low-cost transit pass, free parking at rail stations, increased campus bus service and a new bike-share program will change how thousands of 49ers move about campus and Charlotte.
Mary Newsom with the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute recently wrote an extensive article about the Nov. 29 forum for the institute’s PlanCharlotte.org website. Because University City was born in the age of auto-focused suburban development, ” Getting just about anywhere requires either a car or, if walking or biking, courage verging on the foolhardy,” she wrote.
The LYNX light-rail line will provide not only fast and frequent trips to downtown and south Charlotte, but also accompanying bike lanes, sidewalks and improved roadways near each transit station, Newsom explained.
Low-cost transit passes and free parking
UNC Charlotte also is making changes to encourage students, faculty and staff to come to campus by transit and to use on-campus transit and bike services while there. Among the changes, Newsom explained, are:
- A bike-sharing program with about 100 bikes for rent at 10 stations.
- All-access transit passes for about $25 per semester for students and perhaps $50 for faculty and staff. These passes would work on all rail and bus lines except express buses to outlying communities.
- Free parking at the LYNX parking decks near the JW Clay Boulevard and University City Boulevard stations if the user has paid for a transit ticket.
Improvements planned for campus shuttles
In a 5-minute video of the same forum, Doug Lape, director of campus parking and transportation services, said that the university plans to increase the frequency of the campus shuttle buses during weekdays, longer hours of operation on weekends and larger buses during “crunch times when we’re really, really busy.”
“We know that with light rail coming, we need to have a bus there (at the campus station) when a train comes.” And those trains will come as often as every five minutes during rush hour.