Auxiliary Services News

April 12, 2019

Seedlings sprouting on shelves under LED lights in Dining Services OfficeIf you've walked by the Dining Services office in the Cone Center lately, you might think that it looks more like a research lab than an office. Shelves with glowing LED light boxes and seedling trays line the window. The bright lights cause students and staff to stop and look at the progress of the seeds as they start to emerge from the dirt. Some of them have even asked suspiciously about what is growing in the small containers.

The mysterious sprouts are part of Dining Services' new program called GROW Hydroponic Gardens that cultivates produce for the dining halls across campus. Chartwells, UNC Charlotte's dining services provider, has recently placed two double-sided, vertical, hydroponic towers at the entrance of SoVi. The tower gardens allow plants to grow with minimal resources once the seedlings mature enough to be transferred to the unit.

Lindsay Klingenschmidt, Dining Services nutrition and sustainability specialist, starts the seeds in the greenhouse boxes, where they take about two weeks to get big enough to transplant. She then transfers the plants to the towers and is able to harvest them after four weeks. Klingenschmidt has to spend about four hours a week tending the plants and making sure they get fresh water. It takes about six weeks to complete the entire process.

Since beginning the program, the gardens have yielded four harvests amounting to 17 lbs. of produce, which included a variety of lettuces, kale, basil, cilantro, oregano and parsley. Bok choy will be included in the next harvest.

Dining Services has found creative ways to use the food produced in the garden towers such as Teaching Kitchen events, Earth Day and at the salad stations in SoVi and Crown Commons. The GROW Lacinto Kale and Bright Lights Swiss Chard will be featured at the upcoming Flavors of Spring luncheon at Bistro 49 on April 25.

In addition to providing fresh produce, Klingenschmidt believes that the hydroponic gardens serve a larger educational purpose. She said that she uses the towers "as a teaching mechanism for students so they can see how their food grows," and she loves seeing students "develop a connection to their food."

GROW Hydroponic units at SoViHydroponic gardening has a number of advantages compared to traditional gardening. Growing plants in the towers reduces the need for commercial fertilizers and pesticides. The units are conveniently narrow with casters so they can be placed indoors or outdoors where there is access to an electrical outlet, growing hyper-local produce, or produce that is grown close to where it's consumed, possible all year-round.

The GROW Hydroponic Gardens are part of a long-term effort to make dining services at UNC Charlotte as environmentally-friendly as possible. Both SoVi and Crown Commons dining halls recently earned designations as 3 Star Green Certified Restaurants(R) by the Green Restaurant Association.

Learn more at:

Campus dining halls recognized for sustainability (published March 26, 2019)

Flavors of Spring Luncheon registration

 
 
Lettuce from the GROW unit

April 1, 2019

In order to know that parking supply is sufficient for demand and to plan for future parking facilities, Parking and Transportation Services conducts thorough space counts every semester. All parking designations are counted — residents and commuters, facutly/staff, visitors, ADA parking, etc. Because students are the population for whom most of campus parking is designated, the following data focuses on decks and lots open to those with student permits. 

Student parking at a glance

Bar charts showing parking space availability: Fall 2018 and Spring 2019

Student parking by the numbers

Here are the space counts for Fall 2018 and Spring 2019, by area.*

  • Italicized entries are areas most likely to be filled between 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. 
  • Bold entries have the most parking to spare throughout the day.

Student Parking Space Count, Fall 2018

 LOCATION TOTAL AVAILABLE UNOCCUPIED 10 A.M. UNOCCUPIED 12 P.M. UNOCCUPIED 2 P.M. UNOCCUPIED 4 P.M. UNOCCUPIED 6 P.M.
Lot 26 (at FM/Police) 97 0 7 3 47 79
North Deck 1149 631 541 509 693 818
Lot 25 (across from Witherspoon) 454 12 32 14 80 59
Union Deck 1093 111 97 127 309 557
CRI Deck 1 1300 275 245 261 323 374
CRI Lot 2 129 2 9 3 34 89
Lot 23 (CRI by stadium) 180 1 8 2 8 20
Lot 14 (by Tennis complex) 22 0 1 1 7 1
West Deck 764 12 31 10 160 340
Lot 7A (Memorial Hall) 38 1 0 0 7 16
Lot 7 (behind Cone Deck) 111 1 1 1 3 2
Lot 101 Foundation Bldg. 61 12 26 22 47 53
South Village Deck 1132 239 262 256 350 383
Lot 8 (by So.Village Deck) 245 4 9 15 23 15
Lot 8A 51 0 0 0 1 0
Lot 16 (Oak, Pine, Maple, Elm) 236 2 2 0 11 8
Lot 20 (behind Witherspoon) 105 1 1 1 3 2
Lot 21 (beside Witherspoon) 128 2 3 0 8 9
Lot 12 (NE corner Mary Alex & Cameron) 51 1 1 0 17 42
Lot 13 (Hawthorn) 138 1 3 5 9 11
Greek Village 330 129 131 140 148 147
Lot 6 (off Martin Village Rd.) 602 248 172 208 292 383
Lot 5 (Van Landingham Rd.) 580 22 50 52 207 383
Lot 5A (Van Landingham) 272 65 79 56 157 214
Lot 4A (Van Landingham at John Kirk) 127 17 15 19 62 84
East Deck 3 807 39 59 119 319 525
East Deck 2 518 2 18 23 91 148
TOTAL 10,720** 1,830 1,803 1,847 3,416 4,684

Student Parking Space Count, Spring 2019

 LOCATION TOTAL AVAILABLE UNOCCUPIED 10 A.M. UNOCCUPIED 12 P.M. UNOCCUPIED 2 P.M. UNOCCUPIED 4 P.M. UNOCCUPIED 6 P.M.
Lot 26 (at FM/Police) 97 1 7 6 55 84
North Deck 1149 558 536 549 639 768
Lot 25 (across from Witherspoon) 454 2 3 5 26 32
Union Deck 1093 312 159 174 405 550
CRI Deck 1 1300 292 266 273 329 366
CRI Lot 2 129 0 4 2 33 76
Lot 23 (CRI by stadium) 180 1 6 2 21 52
Lot 14 (by Tennis complex) 22 0 1 1 7 6
West Deck 764 53 29 25 123 383
Lot 7A (Memorial Hall) 37 1 1 2 8 18
Lot 7 (behind Cone Deck) 112 0 2 2 4 3
Lot 101 Foundation Bldg. 61 25 26 24 40 31
South Village Deck 1132 286 311 307 369 393
Lot 8 (by So.Village Deck) 234 1 3 11 17 9
Lot 8A 51 1 1 2 1 1
Lot 16 (Oak, Pine, Maple, Elm) 198 1 1 1 2 7
Lot 20 (behind Witherspoon) 105 1 0 0 1 1
Lot 21 (beside Witherspoon) 128 1 1 2 3 7
Lot 12 (NE corner Mary Alex & Cameron) 51 4 3 4 17 38
Lot 13 (Hawthorn) 138 3 2 3 5 15
Greek Village 330 129 140 152 165 151
Lot 6 (off Martin Village Rd.) 602 329 275 245 338 405
Lot 5 (Van Landingham Rd.) 580 58 57 86 201 330
Lot 5A (Van Landingham) 272 148 94 99 170 236
Lot 4A (Van Landingham at John Kirk) 127 37 29 54 65 102
East Deck 3 807 193 182 208 359 610
East Deck 2 518 8 26 22 88 193
TOTAL 10,671** 2,445 2,165 2.261 3,491 4,887
 

*Counts taken Monday – Thursday, over a two week period of normal class schedule (no holiday/break).

** Student parking space total. Does not include Faculty/Staff gated access, reserved, ADA/van accessible/handicapped, motorcycle, metered, visitor or discount remote parking. 

Note: CRI Deck I is a mixed use facility on every level (available equally to Commuters, Faculty/Staff and Visitors and, after 6 PM, to those with Resident permits.) 

The take-away

  • Parking areas closest to the academic center fill during peak class times. Always has, always will!
  • Overall, this semester averages more open spaces than were counted last Fall. That's a bit of a surprise because historically, there are more cars on campus in the Spring.
  • NEW this year: Parking Availability mobile website, with real-time available parking counts for all parking decks (surface lots do not yet have the space counting equipment required). Find out more here.

Compare to previous space counts: Spring 2018Fall 2017Spring 2017Fall 2016


March 27, 2019

Thirteen years ago, UNC Charlotte did not provide inter-campus transportation. Police and Public Safety filled in with escort assistance, but there were no vehicles equipped to assist people with mobility issues nor resources to provide them.  

The first big step

Photo of CATS  original Gold Rush trolley-style bus and later 29 ft. commuter busThe University entered into a contract with Charlotte Area Transit (CATS) in 2007. CATS added three weekday commuter routes to their schedule, to serve campus from 6:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Monday - Friday. As part of the CATS fleet, those first buses were ADA accessible, with drivers trained in loading, securing and unloading passengers who use wheelchairs.

  • Charlotte Area Transit (CATS) added three campus commuter routes (using Gold Rush buses at first) then 29 ft. single entry/exit buses
  • CATS fleet is ADA accessible, drivers are trained in loading, securing and unloading passengers with physical disabilities

That fulfilled the need for accessible  transportation around the perimeter of campus but did nothing for accessibility around the center, where most of the academic and administrative buildings stand. Elizabeth A. Hardin, vice chancellor for business affairs, guided the formation of a Campus Accessibility Advisory Committee and subcommittee; their task was to study and address inner core transportation. Subcommittee members walked the campus to note accessible building entrances, available nearby parking, proximity to shuttle stops, and obstacles to access.

Around that time, the campus police department saw the need to move responsibility for on-call nighttime safety escorts away from officers. The Parking and Transportation Services’ director suggested combining ADA transportation and evening safety escort, and per direction from Hardin, by 2009 SafeRide was serving both needs.

Photo of original SafeRide electric tramOn weekdays, three nine-passenger electric trams with manual ramps and a wheelchair fastening system moved approved  students, faculty and staff with mobility impairments from residence halls and parking areas to classroom buildings and offices throughout campus. After 6 p.m., SafeRide changed over to evening safety transportation open to anyone who made a request through a dispatch number.  The Disability Services Office handled medical eligibility for those who needed scheduled accessible transportation according to work or classes, and Campus Police dispatch answered the on-demand requests for evening escort transportation.

What was learned

The big lessons from the electric tram years of SafeRide were:

  • Electric trams were uncomfortable for passengers and drivers alike during cold or wet weather.
  • Trams were not designed for a campus as hilly as UNC Charlotte. Strained batteries and worn-out brakes were chronic problems.
  • In early 2013, the electric trams were limited to running just the inner core of campus before 6 p.m., and gasoline-powered 15-passenger vans served 33 pick-up points for evening safety transportation from 6 p.m. until 2 a.m.
  • On-demand dispatching of evening safety transportation was quickly overwhelmed. The “one-call-at-time” service model was inefficient, creating unacceptable wait times as ride requests increased. Scheduled service with multiple pick-up points was soon adopted to provide predictability and meet growing demand.

A revision – bigger, broader, later, longer bus service

Niner Transit bus

ADA service clientele continued to grow as did demand for more robust campus transportation in general. In 2017, the campus bus system moved from contracted weekday-only service with Charlotte Area Transit to University-branded Niner Transit with a designated fleet of 12 New Flyer buses operated by Academy Bus. Niner Transit buses are fully ADA accessible. New routes were scheduled 6 a.m.-2 a.m. weekdays, adding four hours to evening service. Weekend service was added as well, running from, 9 a.m.- 2 a.m..

  • Expanded bus services to cover late-night and weekends eliminated SafeRide split service.
  • Academy Bus awarded the operations contract through a rigorous RFP process.
  • Service was branded Niner Transit.

Photo of MV1 Paratransit vehicle with electric ramp downADA transportation was also rebranded and service was extended. Currently, Niner Paratransit uses three Mobility Venture vehicles (MV1). The boxy shape yields spacious room inside, allowing more ambulatory individuals to walk up an electric ramp and fit comfortably in the seats. Wheelchairs take the front passenger seat area with room to turn around and ride up and down the ramps.  The electric ramps can extend to accommodate a softer angle or greater weight if needed. Because MV1s are gas powered, the whole campus can be served along with main sections of the inner core. The best features for passengers include:

  • Weather protection
  • Greater range
  • Comfort

Photo of a man who is blind, with his service dog, exiting light rail carWith the opening of Light Rail, Niner Transit and Niner Paratransit opened up new services to connect passengers to the city as well as campus!

The improvements caused ridership to increase, passengers and drivers are shielded against weather conditions, and service hours are extended.  The 33 pick-up areas has grown to 65. Pick- up areas are clearly marked and easily located with Niner Paratransit signage.

The Numbers

Ridership   2014  2018
  CATS (Rts. 47, 49, 50) 300,766  
  SafeRide 4,073  
  Niner Transit (Green, Gold, Silver routes)   1,264, 559
  Niner Paratransit   12,637


Helena Connors, associate director, Parking and Transportation ServicesThere are many ways to measure the success of this change, but it’s the positive impact on riders that counts the most. Here’s an example shared by Helena Connors, PaTS associate director: “We assisted a professor who suffered much pain when transferring from her car to an electric tram, causing her to limit trips to campus. After receiving the MV1s, we asked her to meet us in one of the ADA parking lots to see how the transfer from car to MV1 would go. Much to the delight of all present, she was able to move from her car to the vehicle with hardly any discomfort! She was then able to come to campus as many days of the week that she wanted.”  

Eligibility

Here is how the current program operates and determines eligibility.

  • The passenger makes a service request with the Office of Disability Services .  
  • Once approved, the Disability Services staff decides between two status options: limited or unlimited.  Unlimited means that the individual can use our services until they are no longer a student, or employed as faculty or staff.  Limited means that the approver sets an end date as to when the services should no longer be required.
  • The approvals are then sent to the PaTS transportation office. We ask the passenger to fill out a time schedule every semester and those are set on first-come first-served basis.  As the schedules fill up, passengers may have to choose alternate times for pick up or drop off.
  • While the individual is waiting for approval, temporary service is offered for  two-weeks. Sometimes that’s all someone recovering from a minor injury needs.

If a participant does not need service according to a schedule, they can choose to ride using an on-demand option. On-demand callers are placed on the driver schedules where there are open time slots via the dispatcher.

Looking ahead

UNC Charlotte Parking and Transportation Services through Niner Transit and Niner Paratransit continues a commitment to meet the needs of a growing campus and increasing numbers of students, faculty, staff and visitors who need transportation assistance. We have reason to be proud of the strides made during this past decade, and but we must continue to build the program, expanding and enhance services that will make UNC Charlotte a fully accessible campus.

_____________

Links to learn more about Niner Transit and Niner Paratransit

Niner Paratransit services brochure icon for PDF

 


 


March 26, 2019

SoVi and Crown Commons earn 3 Green Stars

SoVi chef holds up fresh plate of shish kabobsCharlotte, NC – SoVi Dining Hall and Crown Commons were recently certified as 3 Star Certified Green Restaurants® by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA), a national nonprofit organization helping restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable. Collectively, the dining halls received 404.54 GreenPoints™ on the GRA’s rigorous certification scale and implemented 116 environmental steps.

Highlights of Green Accomplishments:

  • Facilities are Styrofoam free, which keeps harmful chemicals and litter out of our environment.
  • Composting food waste and recycling plastics, glass, aluminum, cardboard, and paper can keep up to 90% of waste out of landfills.
  • Over 40% of the main dishes are vegetarian, which significantly reduces the carbon footprint associated with our food.
  • Not offering bottled water and providing a bottle filling station, encourages students to bring and reuse their own cups and water bottles, therefore not contributing to the 4 billion pounds of plastic bottles that end up in landfills each year.

SoVi's detailed Green Label and  environmental steps, here.

About the Green Restaurant Association

The Green Restaurant Association is a national non-profit organization that provides the only official Certified Green Restaurants® mark in the country. Since 1990, the GRA has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement and has been the leading voice within the industry encouraging restaurants to listen to consumer demand and green their operations using transparent, science-based certification standards. With their turnkey certification system, the GRA has made it easy for thousands of restaurants to become more environmentally sustainable in a profitable manner. The GRA has been featured on CNN, NBC Nightly News, NPR, and in The New York Times, and The Washington Post. For more information visit www.dinegreen.com.

 Copy of SoVi Green Restaurant certificate Copy of Crown Commons Green Restaurant certificate

 

 

 

 
 
 

February 7, 2019

Charlotte Area Transit (CATS) has announced how transportation services will be impacted by the upcoming NBA All-Star Weekend events.

If you plan to use light rail from campus Friday, February 15 through Sunday, February 17, here’s what you should know:

Expect extra security measures 

  • No purses, backpacks, suitcases, or bags will be allowed on any train nor allowed on any station platform from 5 p.m. until close each night, Friday, Feb. 15 through Sunday, Feb. 17. You are allowed to carry personal belongings in a clear bag.
  • Those traveling from UNC Charlotte Main Station must exit at 7th St. Station for a security sweep. Once checked, you’ll be allowed to continue.
  • There will be no light rail service at CTC/Arena Station.
  • The Transit Center will be relocated to the surface parking lot across from the 7th St. station parking deck.
  • Students and employees with CATS All Access: Be sure to have your UNC Charlotte ID card readily available

Schedule changes: Four hours before each day’s first all-star event, the light rail will operate every 15 minutes. However, delays are still possible. From 5 p.m. to the end of service each night, the train will not stop at the CTC/Arena Station. Buses will run on their normal schedules, but delays are still possible. It is highly recommended you monitor the CATS website for any last minute updates on both train and bus schedules.

Full, downloadable information about CATS service impacts, including map, found here .

NBA All-Star 2019 Charlotte banner logo Click here for information about NBA All-Star 2019, including "10 Things to Know" and links for event listings and social media.  CATS website


January 24, 2019

Free Chick-fil-A every week of spring 2019 with $300 ODA depositNow's a great time to recharge your Optional Deposit Account (ODA) before the semester gets busier. When you purchase $300 in ODA online by Feb. 1, we'll provide coupons for one (1) free Chick-fil-A sandwich each week for the remainder of the spring 2019 semester (Jan. 21 - May 10). 

Once you make your deposit online, stop by the 49er ID Office in the Student Union the following business day to pick up your coupons. Coupons are only valid at the Prospector Building location

 


January 9, 2019

Hand holding smart phone with parking availability mobile website on screen. East Deck in background. If you had the right audio equipment poised over the UNC Charlotte campus on a weekday morning at 10:45 a.m., you might pick up a lot of whispers that sound a lot like, “Please, please, please let me find a close parking spot."

That’s the peak time for parking demand on campus, so it’s unlikely that the pleading chorus will break into songs of joy.

But now commuters can take on campus parking with more than an under-the-breath hope for luck. Five students, with assistance from Parking and Transportation Services (PaTS), Business Services, and Facilities Information Systems (FIS), have developed a real-time mobile website that shows space availability for every parking deck.

Parkingavailability.uncc.edu started as a computer science senior capstone project for students Taylor Atkins, Dillon Brys, Kevin Huynh, Michael Long and John Sorensen. They shared their idea for a parking app with Doug Lape, PaTS director, and Gabe Gerber, business systems analyst for Business Services, who committed to assist and share parking data. Facilities Information Systems (FIS) developers used the students' concept and built the mobile-friendly website. 

After several months of trial, error, testing and waiting until counting sensors for the new Union Deck expansion were online, parkingavailability.uncc.edu is ready to go as a responsive, mobile website. While currently still in beta-stage, a full app within the MyPark app (mypark.uncc.edu) and Alexa and Siri integrations are coming. Surface lot data will be added to the availability list over time, as sensors are installed.

Benefits and highlights

  • Serves as a travel and parking planner, making it easier for commuters to know where to find deck parking. See what’s available (just not while driving of course!) without driving around.
  • Availability count updates are in real-time.
  • Sharing the page to a smartphone home screen makes the website clickable like an app.
  • Easy customer experience. Decks are listed clearly, with color-coded parking percentages; green for 40% or more open, yellow 10-39% and red, less than 10% available.  
  • Have a favorite deck? ‘Star’ it to appear first in your list.
  • Created by UNCC students! How cool is that?

One of the students on the team, Michael Long, said that the most difficult part was the coding. The surprising part, he said, was “actually seeing the numbers and how big a project it is to get all the sensors put in.“

Long, who graduated in December, relates to the angst of those who drive around campus searching for close parking in a panic because they’re already late as it is. “With this [mobile webpage], you can just pull it up and see,  ‘Oh there’s parking here!’ and then actually get to class on time. Hopefully, it will reduce a lot of friction for students,” he said.

PaTS has long had the goal of providing UNC Charlotte with a parking availability app. The commitment of Long, Atkins, Brys, Huynh and Sorensen along with the expertise and assistance of FIS turned out to be the right combination to bring it to completion.


December 7, 2018

If faced with the possibility of being snowbound on campus this weekend, here’s what you should know:

You will eat

  • At least one dining hall, either Crown Commons in the Student Union or SoVi in South Village Crossing, will be open and on the weekend brunch schedule, even if campus is closed. More likely than not, both dining halls will be open. Dining services will have staff persons staying overnight on campus to ensure it.
  • Outtakes convenience store and other retail venues will follow according to an established inclement weather protocol as personnel are available.
  • Due to the timing of this particular storm, opening Peet’s in Atkins Library is a high priority. 

You will be able to get around as long as it’s safe to do so

  • Niner Transit buses will run as long as campus road conditions will allow.
  • Do expect that service hours may end earlier and routes may need to adjust.
  • Check for updates often at nextride.uncc.edu and on Twitter, @unccnextride.

If you're parked on campus

  • Top levels of all parking decks will close. If your car is parked on a roof level, please move it to a lower floor.
  • Best place to park on a covered floor of a deck that coincides with your permit privileges. 

Dining, transportation and Auxiliary Service operations hours during the storm event and any other time, are found here: aux.uncc.edu/hours

Additional campus emergency status updates at emergency.uncc.edu

Questions? We're on Twitter @unccaux, @unccparking

Illustration: back view of Norm on sofa in front of a fireplace. View of snow falling in windows.


November 16, 2018

No change? No problem.

If asked to list things a university needs to support its educational mission, vending machines would probably not make the top 10, or even 50. But we know that hardly anyone goes through a week on campus without needing a hydration, energy or caffeine boost.  Photo of vending machine card reader

That’s why Auxiliary Services and vending partners Coke, Pepsi and Canteen, have undertaken a project to expand payment options on campus vending machine readers, making it easier to get the refreshment you need. The task was completed this month; over 180 beverage and snack machines now accept bank cards, mobile payment and 49er Account in addition to the usual cash and change.

Almost all campus vending machines offer the upgraded capability. However, there remain a few that do not because the cell signal required for operation in their location is insufficient. Those machines will have card readers that accept the 49er Card. 

Did you know:

  • UNC Charlotte has 201 vending machines: 125 beverage, 71 snacks, five coffee.
  • FY 2018 - 406,000 items were purchased in snack vending machines
  • Vending proceeds provide amenities like outdoor seating, tables and patio umbrellas, and support several programs that benefit students, faculty and staff.

O2GO comes to SoVi2Go

Another kind of vending machine, featuring the OZZI® patented reusable container system, has been installed on the upper level of South Village Crossing. It’s one more step toward a zero-waste goal, offering SoVi2Go an alternative to containers that are disposed after one use.

How it works

  1. Purchase a BPA-free O2GO container at SoVi2Go. Price is $5.74. You may use campus spending accounts, 49er Account, DB or ODA.
  2. Fill it up with food at SoVi2Go.
  3. EAT!
  4. Return the container to the OZZI machine. No need to wash or rinse it!
  5. The machine will dispense a token.
  6. Next time you go to SoVi2Go, exchange the token for a fresh container
  7. Enjoy your next take-out meal and declare, “Not today, landfill. Not today!”

The OZZI® machine is a Chartwells Higher Education sustainability initiative that is being rolled out to other university accounts across the country. It only takes a few thousand O2GO containers in rotational use to eliminate 1,000,000 single-use containers ending up as garbage.

Photo of student loading O2GO container into the OZZI machine

Photo: after depositing used container, a student gets an OZZI token to be used to get another O2GO container in the future


October 15, 2018
Light rail repairs continue after hurricane Michael damage. Follows is then news release from From Charlotte Area Transit, UPDATED Tuesday, Oct. 16

Extensive Damage to Overhead Catenary System

Charlotte, N.C. – The LYNX Blue Line light rail will operate modified service for at least another week while repairs are made to the overhead catenary system (OCS). The OCS was damaged during Hurricane Michael last Thursday due to a tree falling on it near 12th Street.  CATS quickly restored partial service in both directions between I-485/South Boulevard and Scaleybark station and from Sugar Creek station to UNCC Main.  A bus bridge  is in place from Scaleybark to Sugar Creek stations. bit.ly/2yCkMx0

The OCS is vital to light rail service because it powers the trains and affects train communications. The portion of the OCS that was damaged included north and southbound overhead wires consisting of wire that is more than one-mile long. In addition, damage occurred to cantilevers, insulators and brackets.  Several OCS poles were also damaged and need to be replaced. Most importantly, no riders or employees were hurt. There was no damage to the tracks or vehicles.

CATS has brought in contractors and heavy equipment to complete the extensive repairs. Safety remains CATS’ top priority.  Staff will continue to work diligently to ensure all repairs are made and complete service is restored as quickly and safely as possible.  Prior to the return of full operation, CATS will conduct testing to ensure the system functions safely.  CATS is also identifying any other trees that might cause damage during future weather events.

CityLYNX Gold Line streetcar service will continue to be suspended while repairs are being made.  Streetcar vehicles cannot travel to Trade Street due to the LYNX Blue Line being inoperable between New Bern Station and the pocket track at 5th Street.  Gold Line stations are accessible via CATS local bus service on routes 9-Central Avenue, 15-Randolph Road and 27-Monroe Road. Gold Line service is free; therefore, customers boarding at the bus stops within the service area can ride free of charge.

For information on bus bridge stops and routes 9, 15 and 27 visit ridetransit.org.  Citizens can sign up to have rider alerts/updates emailed directly to them at ridetransit.org; click on the Notify Me icon.  Also, follow CATS on Twitter at @CATSRideTransit or call CATS Customer Service at 704-336-RIDE (7433) for up-to-date information.

 Photo from CATS Tweet of equipment used in replacing a large pole Photo of giant roll of wire used to replace demaged OCS