Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re aware the LYNX Blue Line Extension is coming to UNC Charlotte. Starting just outside UNC Charlotte Center City on 9th and Brevard, the extension is 9. 3 miles long and delivers you from the heart of Uptown to the heart of UNC Charlotte’s campus in just 22 minutes.
Once open, trains will arrive every 7.5 minutes, operating 7 days a week, 20 hours a day. That’s 103 trains arriving on campus each day.
The light rail extension is expected to open in March 2018. For friends of the University, and the entire city, this is a game-changer. However, it’s safe to say one person is more excited than anyone else: Chancellor Philip L. Dubois. Dubois joined several UNC Charlotte students including student body president Tracey Allsbrook, elected officials and Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) leadership for a preview ride on the LYNX Blue Line Extension Wednesday, Nov. 8.
“This ride was only possible with the leadership and vision of more than three decades of work by our city, state and national leaders, as well as strong support from the community. We are thankful for their vision,” said Chancellor Dubois. “I was thrilled to ride the train with several of our student leaders. These students, and all students that come after them, will benefit greatly from the opportunities light rail brings to easily connect to the vibrant center of Charlotte, including access to businesses, social and cultural activities.”
When Chancellor Dubois arrived at UNC Charlotte in 2005, local leaders, including then-mayor Pat McCrory and then-CATS CEO Ron Tober, urged him to consider bringing light rail onto campus. The potential ridership provided by the growing campus was critical to qualify for federal funding. Light rail also aligned with the University’s vision to increase public access to campus and student opportunities in Charlotte, strengthen industry ties to research and academic programs, reduce increasing demand for parking and spur economic development and enhanced quality of life along the light rail line. Dubois worked with University and CATS staff to find a path for the light rail trains that would allow easy access without disrupting the core of campus.
There are two UNC Charlotte stations. The first stop at J.W. Clay Blvd. and N. Tryon will provide easy access to Jerry Richardson Stadium, the Charlotte Engineering Early College and the dedicated industry-partnership facility, PORTAL (Partnership, Outreach and Research to Accelerate Learning).
The second stop is on the north end of campus, across from Wallis Hall. This is the final stop along the extension and allows access to the center of campus. Upgraded features such as CATS all-access pass, a new bike share program and an enhanced shuttle service easily move light rail riders throughout campus.
“Quite simply, without Chancellor Dubois’ leadership and vision to partner with CATS, the Blue Line Extension was not possible,” said John Lewis, CATS CEO. “I look forward to seeing the trains full of UNC Charlotte students – our future workforce – traveling through the city. And, I look forward to riding the train to cheer on the Charlotte 49ers.”
Students will have unlimited access to CATS LYNX light rail, the streetcar, Special Transportation Service (STS) and local and express bus routes for $25/semester, which will be included in each student’s Miscellaneous Transportation Service Charge. Faculty and staff can purchase the same access for $75 per year.
For the most up-to-date news and information, visit lightrail.uncc.edu.