Charlotte's rail systems offers inspiration and hope for Charleston

Image by flickr user Payton ChungImage by 20080711lynx.jpg One of Charlotte's Lynx stops. Add a few palm trees, some slate, and a circa 1830 feeling and it might fit right in here in Charleston.

Charlotte's $463 million Lynx Blue Line pulls some 18,600 people off the roads each weekday and many think a similar system could be successfully used here.

Keep up with commuter rail stories on our topic page.The system, ahead of 2025 projections for ridership, represents the first 9.6 miles of Charlotte's overall light rail plan. It's an encouraging sign for a possible light rail system from Summerville to downtown, or a possible trolley form the Magnolia Development to downtown.

There are some obvious detractions from the comparison, particularly as Charleston is a much smaller city, but we're also considerably more land locked. If the Magnolia Development gets anywhere near as dense as is anticipated (an estimated 4,400 living units, 900 hotel rooms, and 2 million square feet of office and retail space) we'll need a much better way than cars to get folks around the Peninsula and lower Neck.

I think we all hate the parking and traffic downtown enough as things are.