It’s time for an Uptown protected bike lane update! In 2015, Sustain Charlotte started the #ibikeclt petition, a campaign to ask City Council to commit to supporting completion of Charlotte’s first protected bicycle lane connecting the Little Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek Greenways through the heart of Uptown. Because of your continued support and involvement, the project is moving forward.
But, where are we? What happens next? Keep reading to see what you can do as this project moves toward construction!
Charlotte Department of Transportation’s renderings showing what the Uptown protected bike lane could like.
Released last year, the Uptown Connects Study explains CDOT’s broad vision for an Uptown network of both protected and off-street bicycle facilities.
Stewart’s recommendations from Uptown Connects.
Based on analyses and public input, the study recommended a tiered Uptown bike network, an Uptown protected bike lane on 5th and 6th Streets, and and the Belk Connector Greenway. The Belk Connector will be an off-street trail located between the new developments on Stonewall and the I-277 freeway. It will run east to west -- parallel to Stonewall.
However, the Uptown protected bike lane and the Belk Greenway projects currently only have enough funding for design, not construction. While the study does not, unfortunately, provide any timelines for completing these projects, one suggestion is made on page 69: “CDOT must continue to prioritize future projects with significant annual funding and bond revenues targeted for pedestrian/bike improvements. Continued progress will depend on periodic reexamination of the recommended network, thorough evaluation of success/failures with past projects, and continued public input and support.”
When will the City build the Uptown protected bike lane and the Belk Greenway Connector?
The design of the protected bike lane and the Belk Greenway Connector is funded. The City has hired Stewart Design, subcontracting with Kittleson and Associates, to design these projects.
At the Bicycle Advisory Committee on 5/22, CDOT’s new Bicycle Program Coordinator, Will Washam, presented this timeline for the Uptown protected bicycle lane:
- Late April 2018: Establish a technical oversight team and issue a notice to proceed.
- July 2018: Present analysis to key stakeholders and buisness owners including bank tower parking decks along the route.
- August 2018: Host a pop-up event and survey and start “design and review.”
- January 2019: host a public workshop and demonstration project.
- July 2019: Complete and receive approval from City Council for final planning and design phase.
Stewart recently announced plans to hold joint public engagement sessions with CDOT in August. Read more about their involvement here.
When will we actually be riding on a protected facility through Uptown? The big question is still unanswered. Washam says that because of previously scheduled storm water and sewer projects, we are looking at a conservative date of 2020 to see any construction begin on the Uptown protected bicycle lane.
Testing It Out: Bicyclists and roadway users get an opportunity to experience a cycle track Sustain Charlotte constructed with volunteers on 5thand 6th St through Uptown using temporary materials. Feedback from this “pop-up” experience has already helped inform the ultimate design of the project.
What can you do now?
Stay engaged. We need your continued participation in public meetings and input sessions held by CDOT, Stewart, and Sustain Charlotte whenever bicycle projects are under review. Be vocal at these meetings with your support for quickly completing these projects. We’ll let you know when the next key opportunity to speak up for safe cycling arises!