Beyond 77: It's not just about cars

There's a lot going on this summer with transportation and land use in Charlotte -- and across our region! 

Today we're digging into one of three planning processes that were shared by staff at Monday's City Council Transportation, Planning, and Environment (TPE) Committee meeting. Over the next few weeks, we'll share blog posts about the Connect Beyond regional transit planning process and the Silver Line Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Study. Slides from the TPE meeting presentations on all three topics can be viewed here.

Join us today for the first deep dive as we take a closer look at I-77. Yes, it's an interstate that moves a lot of cars and freight. But it has the potential to do so much more! We're about to go...Beyond 77. 

What is Beyond 77 and why is it important?

Interstate highways are very costly to build, manage, and maintain. Shouldn't we expect the maximum public benefit from them? That's really what this study is about. 

The vision of the Beyond 77 Corridor Study is to "strengthen the multimodal network surrounding the interstate by providing a strategic, innovative, equitable, and comprehensive toolbox of effective strategies, policies, and programs that will guide future mobility for our diverse communities."

If you've followed Sustain Charlotte for a while, you know how much we love all things multimodal. We envision streets that are safe and accessible not only for people who drive cars, but also for people who walk, ride bicycles, and ride public transit. 

The study area covers 68 miles from Statesville in the north to Rock-Hill in the south. It covers 6 miles from west to east (perpendicular to the interstate). 1 million residents live within the study area. 21 agencies/ and jurisdictions are working together on this planning process. 

Here's the timeline. Based on extensive public input received to date in Phases I through III, the project team is developing a framework for recommendations in Phase IV.

How can I-77 be improved for residents and people who travel along or near it?

The Beyond 77 planning team has developed more than 170 potential solutions based on a combination of resident feedback and projected growth / traffic data. These solutions have been evaluated across six key factors: safety, mode choice, land use, travel efficiency, equity and regional impact.

Improved Mobility: Based on initial outputs from the CONNECT Beyond regional transit planning process (which we'll explore in an upcoming blog post), the Beyond 77 process indicates that regional and local agencies should coordinate to implement critical first‐mile/last‐mile and key local bus services along defined mobility corridors. Many of these suggested corridors can benefit from increased bus services, improved bike/pedestrian access and improvements for long‐term future high-capacity transit technologies.

Connectivity Enhancements in the Charlotte Metro area: How can we improve connectivity across and parallel to I‐77 between Uptown Charlotte and the SC state line? There are 22 individual project concepts recommended  – ranging from bike route improvements to numerous street extensions for improved circulation and reducing reliance on the interstate. While Sustain Charlotte is generally not an advocate of new roads, there are situations in which community connectivity, safety, and accessibility could be improved with thoughtfully designed improvements to the street network. 

Interstate Cap (Land Bridge) Solutions: It's exactly what it sounds like! Replacing portions of an interstate with parks, greenways, or other sustainable use of land would allow greater and safer connectivity across interstates that currently function as barriers. This solution presents new opportunities to reconnect neighborhoods that were divided by interstate construction, emphasize new transit and bike/ped connections, and improve equitable access to green space and affordable housing.

How can I get involved?

Learn more about what's next and ways to add your voice at Beyond77.com.

 

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  • Megan Fencil
    published this page in Blog 2021-05-26 10:21:09 -0400