See Something, Say Something with new CATS security app

See Something, Say Something with new CATS security app

Charlotte Area Transit System is encouraging its customers to enhance their safety with a new smart phone app, the CATS See Say. The app provides an easy and discreet way to get help, says BJ Johnson, with CATS Safety and Security. “The app is monitored by Police Dispatch 24/7,” Johnson said. “If an individual uses the app, a certified police dispatcher will get the alert, acknowledge that they have received the alert, and immediately send an officer to investigate, no matter what it is.” The simply designed app has a single page where people can write a short note about the problem, snap a photo (without flash), select the location of the problem, and submit it anonymously, if they prefer. Johnson said that the app is a good alternative for reporting suspicious behavior without appearing to be calling 911. Yet the police will still respond immediately, she added. More than 1,000 people have downloaded and used the free CATS See Say security app, Johnson said. People have used the app to report everything from overflowing trash cans to suspicious bags left unattended.   To download the app The app is available for both iPhones via the App Store and Android phones via Google Play. Search for CATS See...
LYNX parking deck usage on the rise

LYNX parking deck usage on the rise

The two large LYNX parking decks in UCity have seen a substantial increase in daily use since light-rail service began last March, the Charlotte Area Transit System reports. The 800-space JW Clay Station deck’s busiest day so far, Oct. 3, recorded 873 cars. The 1,500-space University City Boulevard station deck served 600 cars on its busiest day, July 9. CATS says that the parking-lot use has doubled since it first began keeping records in April. The decks are intended to serve as park-and-ride lots for commuters and Charlotte visitors wishing to ride the LYNX and to avoid high parking fees in uptown Charlotte. The decks were designed with future growth in mind, with planners anticipating that the University City Blvd deck would draw many users because of its location just south of the I-85-University City Boulevard interchange. Why charge? While other parking facilities and decks along the 19-mile LYNX line are free, University City parking decks offer free parking only to people who have purchased all-day, weekly or monthly LYNX passes. All other parking-deck customers, including LYNX riders with one-way and round-trip tickets, must pay $10 to park. CATS chose to charge at the two University City stations because of concern that UNC Charlotte students seeking to avoid campus parking fees would fill up the decks if parking was free, then ride the LYNX to campus. The campus has no free parking. Student parking permits cost $290 per semester or $464 for two semesters. Visitors and students without parking permits must park in the five campus decks. Rates run from $5 for the first hour to $15 for the...
CATS offering rider “rewards” worth up to $25

CATS offering rider “rewards” worth up to $25

Frequent transit riders can earn rewards up to $25 with a new program offered by the Charlotte Area Transit System. Through Feb. 28, CATS customers can earn a reward valued at $5 for 10 round trips, a $10 reward for 15 round trips, or a $25 reward for 25 or more round trips. The rewards can be redeemed at more than 50 retailers and nonprofits listed at the program’s website. To take part, you must download the Way2Go CLT app, log in and start riding. You will receive one point per round-trip commute or ride. When you are ready to redeem your points, go to the Rewards tab under “Programs” on the Way2GoCLT.com website or in the app and click “redeem” for the reward amount desired. You will receive a redemption code via email. Click the link in the email and you will be able to select from over 50 retailers and nonprofits from Tango Card’s catalog.   Learn more For full program details, visit...
LYNX security and rider efforts create safe journey

LYNX security and rider efforts create safe journey

From uniformed and plain-clothed police to security cameras and smart-phone apps, the Charlotte Area Transit System works hard to keep our light-rail riders safe. That effort has paid off. A check of police calls for the past six months finds virtually no reports of criminal activity at University City’s North Tryon Street three transit stations and two parking decks.   A team effort University City Partners recently spoke with BJ Johnson, with CATS Safety and Security, about its extensive security program for the 19-mile LYNX Blue Line in general and for University City stations and decks in particular. Johnson emphasized that safety is a partnership between CATS, police and riders. “All are responsible for security,” Johnson said, “so we at CATS and the police do our part, and we encourage patrons to do their part.”   Patrols Charlotte Mecklenburg Police have more than 80 uniformed and plain-clothes officers patrolling the line 24 hours a day. CATS has its own private security company patrolling. as well, and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Department also helps. Officers regularly monitor the system, whether by riding trains, patrolling stations and parking decks or observing the system remotely. Many officers are in uniform, while others may be in plain clothes and riding in the seat next to another LYNX passenger.   Technology Multiple cameras monitor every station, parking area and train car. All stations, decks and park-and-ride-lots have blue-light emergency phones; each train has emergency call buttons. Police monitor the cameras, phones and buttons and can dispatch help immediately.   Parking areas Decks and park-and-ride lots also have security cameras and blue-light phones. Police regularly...
Proximity Park project turns back the clock

Proximity Park project turns back the clock

By next fall, one of University City’s oldest office buildings will look like its newest. With a redesign by global architectural firm Gensler, the former office of Allstate Insurance, at 401 McCullough Drive, will have completed its transformation to Proximity Park – the single biggest available suburban office building on the 19-mile LYNX light rail line. Work will start in the next few weeks on major improvements to the building and 32-acre campus, including a visually striking new entrance and two-story glass atrium, new energy efficient windows, extensive new landscaping and an outdoor meeting area. The building already underwent several months of interior demolition, which included removal of the old mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems. The redesigned building will have all new energy-efficient systems. When the remodeling is finished next August, Proximity Park will offer nearly 200,000 square feet of space for lease in like-new condition – with room for expansion – within a 10-minute walk to light rail and a 1-mile drive to I-85.   Potential corporate campus Colliers International, which is handling the building transformation and its marketing, hopes to find a single tenant for the building. The building also can be subdivided for up to three tenants. “Given the unique design of it and the large campus setting, we feel like Proximity Park will provide a unique opportunity for a company wanting its own branded building with easy expansion potential,” said Brad Grow, a partner in Colliers’ Charlotte office. The site can accommodate an additional 100,000 square feet of office space, plus structured parking for the additional employees. That building will have great curb appeal, Grow...
Progress report on NE Corridor Infrastructure projects

Progress report on NE Corridor Infrastructure projects

The city of Charlotte on Oct. 23 released this update on seven projects underway along the Blue Line Extension to improve connectivity between stations and nearby communities, whether traveling on foot, on bike or in a motor vehicle. The projects and several others comprise the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Improvement Program. Total cost of the projects will exceed $106 million when completed in the next few years.   J.W. Clay Boulevard streetscape Design is 90 percent complete, and real estate acquisition is expected to start in late 2018. During the real estate phase, the City acquires the property rights needed to build and maintain the improvements that were identified during the design phase. City real estate agents will reach out to affected property owners with information on the City’s real estate acquisition process. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of 2021. Project website   Rocky River Road West streetscape Real estate acquisition is almost complete and the site is being prepared for utility relocation. This will involve moving fences and clearing trees for utilities to make way for new poles, guy wires and overhead lines. Construction is expected to start in the fall of 2019. Project website   25th Street connection This project is now in the utility relocation phase, during which utility infrastructure such as underground gas, water and sewer lines, as well as overhead power, telephone and television lines are moved as needed to make way for construction. By the end of the year, the City will invite contractors to submit bids to construct the project. Construction is expected to start by mid-2019. Project website   Parkwood...