If all goes to plan in 20 years, Charlotte will have its next big transit addition: light rail running east to west. But urban transportation solutions often come with a problem: A spike in land value.
The latest proposed route for the Silver Line in Charlotte shows future stops in neighborhoods that right now are some the most likely places to find affordable places to live. But the new transit project threatens that, with large-scale commercial and residential developments often trailing public investments, like light rail.
In turn, land values rise and the equation to build affordable housing becomes even more complicated. It’s already happened in Charlotte, with the Blue Line leading to gentrification in many neighborhoods.
Now some on City Council are asking if Charlotte should take a more active role in acquiring and holding land for future affordable development.
This story is part of I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte.