Phase I of the Uptown Cycle Track is open!
After three years of advocacy on our part and project planning by the city (click here to read CDOT’s full Uptown Connects Study) including two temporary installations in partnership with CDOT and Charlotte Center City Partners, installation of the first phase was completed in April 2019!
Phase 2 will be the completion of the project from the Rail Trail to the Irwin Creek Greenway including a concrete median that will separate people on bikes and people in cars. This will result in a continuous greenway to greenway connection spanning all of Uptown!
Better yet, the entire project is now fully funded. These funds are coming from the $4 million in transportation bonds that Sustain Charlotte and others --including many of you-- advocated for during the last budget season.
#IBIKECLT is more than a hashtag. It is a campaign designed to inspire you. We want you to become more active this year. Not just moving your body for transportation and mobility, but also active in our community. Many people already use their bicycles in Charlotte for transportation. Many more say they would if they felt it was safer. We want our city to include safe, connected and dignified facilities for people on bikes at every opportunity.
We began this campaign by building public support and asking Charlotte City Council to approve a protected bike lane through Uptown Charlotte, connecting Irwin Creek Greenway and Little Sugar Creek Greenway. In turn, we hope that connecting these two greenways will unlock a larger network of protected bike lanes that anyone can use whether they are aged 8, or 80. We believe that Charlotte's active transportation future is linked to world class infrastructure for people who want to go from point A to point B in a way that's convenient, safe, inexpensive, healthy, and fun.
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!
Your voice is making a difference!
As a city, we have much work to do to catch up to our peer cities in terms of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. On your behalf, we will continue to ask Council to fund these recommended projects to help make Charlotte a world-class, competitive, and equitable city.
Check out the progress through our blog posts!
October 22, 2017
Biketoberfest 2017 was bigger and better than ever! The event also brought us closer to attaining the #IBIKECLT campaign goal of seeing a protected bike lane connect Irwin Creek and Little Sugar Creek Greenway!
For one week, a temporary protected bike lane ran the length of Uptown! Read our blog post about Biketoberfest here!
June 12, 2017
CDOT recommended a protected bike lane Uptown and a road diet on Parkwood Avenue to City Council!
We asked the City for a safe way to access Uptown via bike and they have agreed to do it! We asked them to make Parkwood Avenue and The Plaza safer for all users, and they have agreed to this too!
March 17, 2017
At March's Transportation and Planning (TAP) Committee, we received great news from the City as not one, but TWO protected bike lanes were recommended to Council! Read our blog post it here!
February 23, 2017
After February's second public Uptown Connects workshop hosted by Center City Partners and CDOT, we no longer have to use our imaginations to visualize what an Uptown protected bike lane will look like! Read our blog post about it.
*Visualizations were provided at the Uptown Connects Study February 23, 2017 public workshop. These renderings are intended to display possible options for design of the potential protected bicycle lanes. These are only concepts.*
At the November 2016 Charlotte City Council Transportation and Planning Committee meeting, CDOT shared the results of their September workshop and plans to pilot protected bike lanes in Uptown! Read our blog post about it.
We are making short films (below) to highlight stories of local residents who commute by bicycle. We hope they inspire you to get around using a bicycle and help make Charlotte a place that is known as a city of people on bicycles. Watch these films with the sound turned up, ideally with your earbuds in!
Here are four easy ways you can support this campaign:
- Add your voice to our statement of support for a protected bike lane.
- Use hashtag #IBIKECLT to share photos, videos, and stories about riding your bike in Charlotte.
- Share our videos with your friends.
- Ride your bike as often as you can!