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...
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...
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...
UCity wins big with passage of Charlotte bonds

UCity wins big with passage of Charlotte bonds

Charlotte voters gave strong approval of $223 million in general obligation bonds on Tuesday that will fund major improvements in University City as well as the rest of Charlotte. Nearly $40 million will go just to continue improvements to streets, sidewalks and intersections along the LYNX Blue Line Extension, including a new bridge linking the University Research Park to the JW Clay Boulevard light-rail station. Here is the run-down of what voters approved and how University City will benefit.   Transportation Bonds – $118.08 million – Approved 69% to 31% The bonds will fund street and intersection projects, continued development of the Cross Charlotte Trail, upgrades to Charlotte’s traffic control system, pedestrian safety improvements, and repairs or construction of bridges, sidewalks and bikeways. Northeast corridor improvements In University City, about $27 million will go to ongoing improvements of streets, sidewalks and intersections along the Northeast Corridor that includes the LYNX Blue Line Extension. Previous bond packages in 2014 and 2016, plus a planned bond package in 2020, will provide a total of $106.6 million in improvements along the Northeast Corridor from uptown to University City. Bridge and bikeway over I-85 to link University Place and Research Park Another $9.7 million in the 2018 bond package will help build a revolutionary vehicle-bike-pedestrian roadway and bridge linking University Research Park to the JW Clay Blvd Transit Station, the North Tryon Street business corridor and UNC Charlotte. The total project will cost more than $25 million, including money approved by voters in 2014 and 2016. Construction is expected to start in 2020. GET DETAILS. Cross Charlotte Trail The 30-mile Cross Charlotte Trail...
Our next greenway is on the way!

Our next greenway is on the way!

Work has started on a short greenway with big potential – the Barton Creek Greenway. Once finished late next year, the three-quarter-mile greenway will link University Place shops, the Blue Line Extension and hundreds of nearby residents to the extensive Mallard Creek-Clark’s Creek-Toby Creek network through University Research Park, UNC Charlotte and a dozen neighborhoods.   Opening in late 2019 Greenways planner Gwen Cook said that the project will take about one year to complete. The greenway will wind between several apartment, townhome and patio home communities. Several neighborhoods will have direct access to the greenway via side trails.   University Place entrance already in place The start of the greenway at University Place is already visible on JW Clay Boulevard near the northeast corner of the lake. A boldly lit HAWK pedestrian traffic signal marks where the greenway will end. The crossing will link the greenway to lakeside sidewalks at University Place. Light-rail riders will be able to reach the greenway easily, via a short walk from the JW Clay Boulevard light-rail station on North Tryon Street. The greenway’s end at Mallard Creek Greenway is visible, as well. Look for the cut trees on the creek side of Mallard Creek Greenway, just north of the end of the Paradise Valley Par 3 golf course. A bridge will carry the greenway across the creek at that point.   A long time in coming The county had hoped to build the greenway several years ago but encountered design challenges that took time and money to overcome.  Contracts for the project were issued this summer. General contractor J.D. Goodrum Inc. has...