City of Charlotte’s preferred Silver Line route would skirt Uptown

CHARLOTTE — The city of Charlotte is pushing for the LYNX Silver Line to skirt Uptown rather than go through the heart of Center City and share tracks with the Blue and Gold Lines, while critics say the move prioritizes development over moving people.

Inside the Man Cave Barber Shop on W. 10th Street, there’s always a steady flow of customers.

“We have one of the most amazing barber shops in the city of Charlotte,” said David “Bubba” Anderson, a barber for the Man Cave.

But Anderson predicts if the city moves forward with its current plans for the Silver Line, business will boom even more.

“Putting the light rail there would definitely put us in the position where we will probably be overwhelmed with customers,” he said.

The city’s preferred route for the Silver Line would put a stop at Graham Street right in front of the Man Cave. From there it would connect with the Blue Line at 11th Street before heading into First Ward and out east.

The city is hoping it will spur development. But Sustain Charlotte Executive Director Shannon Binns says the city is making the wrong call.

“It comes down to why are we doing this,” he said. “What is the priority of the project?”

Sharing the tracks with the Blue or Gold Lines would be cheaper by hundreds of millions of dollars and could make it easier to get funding for the multi-billion dollar project. Binns also thinks more people will use the service this way and that should be the city’s goal

“We believe it first and foremost should be to move as many people as possible to the places they need to go, and right now, it doesn’t seem like the top priority for the city,” he said.

While not as many people work near the city’s preferred route, Anderson does, and he thinks plenty more will if it is built.

“Hopefully with the light rail they put right there, they will put shopping centers and more stores and it will have that South End atmosphere,” Anderson said.

The project is still many years away from breaking ground. The city also hasn’t identified a funding source. The route will have to be approved by the Metropolitan Transit Commission. Charlotte City Council’s transportation committee has signed off on the alignment.

(WATCH BELOW: CATS proposes new South End light rail station)