What if there was an uninterrupted bike trail that stretched from Pineville to uptown to Cabarrus County?
That’s the idea behind the Cross Charlotte Trail, a proposed 26-mile trail stretching diagonally across the county.
During a public meeting Tuesday at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center, residents got to hear about the trail plans and provide input about where it should go and how it should look.
– The trail would stretch from Pineville in southwest Mecklenburg County to the Cabarrus County line, winding through uptown and areas like Park Road Shopping Center, Freedom Park, NoDa and UNC Charlotte.
– It would be seamless and separated from automobile traffic, and could also be used by runners and walkers.
– The project is a city and county partnership, using segments of greenways that already exist, including the Little Sugar Creek Greenway.
– 7.6 miles of the trail already exist. The county will build 5.5 miles of trail and the city will build 12.8 miles.
– According to the Charlotte Future website, about 98,000 jobs and 80,000 residents will be located within a half mile of the proposed trail.
“This is a project I believe is transformative,” said Dan Gallagher, a Charlotte Department of Transportation official involved with the project. “I think it will pay dividends for our residents in the near term and for generations to come.”
Why does Charlotte need this?
Gallagher said that the trail would improve transportation options, quality of life in Charlotte and spur economic development.
Joe Frey, a trail project manager with the city of Charlotte, said he thinks people are tired of sitting in traffic and always being in the car. This would give residents another transportation option.
“We’re 16th in population (in the country) but we’re 36th for miles of trails, and all the young millennials — and even some guys like me — want a city where you have the safe ways to bike around and get around,” Frey said.
How much will it cost?
According to a presentation, the trail will be funded by a $5 million bond referendum that passed in 2014 and $30 million in bonds proposed for 2016.
When will it be finished?
“We’re moving this along as fast as we can,” Frey said. But it might be a little while.
Several segments where the path is obvious should be built in two or three years, Frey said, but other parts — especially in northeast Charlotte — will take longer because there’s not an obvious route.
At Tuesday’s meeting, residents could give feedback on route options for various segments. Frey expects some segments will need public-private partnerships with developers to build trails, like what happened with Little Sugar Creek Greenway and the Metropolitan.
But this trail doesn’t serve all of Charlotte. What about the other neighborhoods?
Frey said most of the negative responses he’s gotten about the trail are from people who don’t live near it.
“We’ve got to start somewhere,” he said. “This is going to be a catalyst. … This is going to transform those corridors, but I think it’s going to be a catalyst where people are just going to want more trails and more corridors.”
Click here for more information about the trail.
Photos: Corey Inscoe.
Corey Inscoe is editor of CharlotteFive and a newbie cyclist. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyInscoe.