CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Central Avenue Bus Lane pilot program is coming to an end.
The Charlotte Department of Transportation, CDOT, and Charlotte Area Transit System, CATS, worked on a bus lane pilot program on Central Avenue from Eastway Drive to the Eastland Transit Center.
The area was selected because it’s one of the busiest corridors when it comes to bus riders.
The lane, restricted to city and school buses, took over an existing lane of traffic, narrowing parts of the roadway. Cars used the lane for right turns only.
On March 31, the Charlotte Department of Transportation System will begin removing bus only lane signage and road markings, which could take up to three weeks.
Spectrum News 1 talked to a bus rider and a commuter about the pilot program before it was announced the program will end.
Trimmel Lipscomb, a janitor at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, rides the bus everyday. The 53-year-old says she has never had a license or owned a car.
“I’ve been riding the bus since I was little girl. I remember when the bus was a quarter,” Lipscomb says.
Since the bus lane was put in place on Central Avenue, she has noticed her commute is faster.
“You're going to have some traffic, but by them putting in that bus lane, I feel like it's easier,” Lipscomb says.
She had hoped the program became permanent.
“By them opening up the school, people going back to work, they’ll definitely need them,” Lipscomb says.
Winterfield Neighborhood Association President Diane Langevin was one of the more than 1,225 people who signed a petition to remove the bus lanes.
Langevin, who also drives in east Charlotte, says when buses are not on Central Avenue, the lane sits empty.
“It's taking up a valuable lane. You're wasting a lane,” Langevin says.
She worried about not having an additional lane of traffic after the pandemic.
“Once we get back to normal, traffic is going to be horrendous coming out of town because of certain turn lanes that traffic just backs up,” Langevin says.
Lanes will reopen to normal traffic when signage and road markings are removed.
According to CATS, information gathered during the six-month bus lane pilot program will help increase bus reliability during an upcoming Bus Priority Study.