Charlotte's light rail has been wildly successful: Ridership has exceeded all predictions, and transit-oriented development is springing up around the stations. If they can make it work there, we can make it work here ("Mass transit funding: A tin cup for steel rails," Jan. 22).
Transit-oriented development happens when construction of a well-planned transit system begins. Once we've made a serious commitment to funding and building the system, then housing, shopping and employment will be drawn to sites within walking distance of each station to meet the demand. That's simple market forces at work.
Sharing corridor with Amtrak's Atlanta-Charlotte-D.C.-NYC service, a local light-rail system will also greatly increase access to interstate rail. Amtrak/ DOT's Charlotte-Raleigh service is one of the fastest growing in the system.
Georgia wants in on N.C./ Va.'s high-speed rail plans too now, extending the Charlotte-to-D.C. service through Spartanburg to Atlanta and beyond. A train like that won't make many stops, but with a local light-rail system servicing whatever stops it does make in the Triangle, it would be easily and efficiently accessed from our population centers. Minimizing the number of stops improves the efficiency and on-time performance of the high-speed system too. It's win-win!
It would've been nice to see some mention of Duke's student-run label, Small Town Records (smalltownrecords.com), especially since they're pursuing a drastically different business model from Vinyl Records ("UNC's Vinyl Records label spawned by extracurricular activity," Jan. 28). Specifically, their releases are only available to members of the Duke community, and their focus seems to be on the production side of things (they offer free recording to Duke bands).
When they started out a couple of years ago, I seem to recall their plans being a little wider, and it would've been informative to hear how/why they arrived at their current business model. Might've provided useful counterpoint to the Vinyl story.