CATS says drivers parking on tracks is interrupting streetcar testing

CHARLOTTE — You may have seen the Charlotte Area Transit System testing its Gold Line streetcar. CATS is checking its platform clearances and electrical systems -- a critical step to certifying that the streetcar line meets federal and state safety requirements.

But officials are running into a big problem: Drivers are parking on the tracks during testing.

David Powell owns a barbershop along the Gold Line on the city’s west end and said he’s seen the problem firsthand in other areas.

“Some of the drivers were parking where the tracks would be. But, at the time it wasn’t an issue because you didn’t have the train coming through,” Powell said.

As we get closer to the Gold Line becoming fully operational, CATS is running the line at all hours of the day. It travels from French Street and Beatties Ford Road, through uptown Charlotte, and ends at Sunnyside Avenue.

Aside from not parking on the tracks, CATS also want you to keep 10 feet of distance between you and the streetcar, and don’t try to pass it either. West End resident Anita Martin said drivers should take it easy.

“They just need to relax and slow down and take your time. Everything takes time and is a process,” she said.

The streetcar operators are also learning the route and navigating the rules of the road. They’re asking for a little bit of patience. It’s just one more step toward completing the long-awaited project.

“We’ve been waiting for all this to be finished for a long time now,” said Katrina Marshall who works at Charlie’s Angels Beauty Bar along the Gold Line.

Powell is hopeful drivers will get accustomed to sharing the road with the new streetcar.

“We just navigated through a pandemic, so I’m quite sure they’ll be able to do that,” Powell said.

(WATCH: ‘Modern, chic, new’: Testing of Charlotte’s new Gold Line streetcars underway)