On Monday night, residents from the neighborhoods surrounding the Plaza Midwood business district presented a petition to City Council calling for bicycle and pedestrian improvements on The Plaza and Central Avenue. Two residents explained to Mayor Roberts and Council Members the daily challenges facing residents as they attempt to walk, cycle or even use transit on this corridor.
Stevan Talevski, a Plaza Midwood resident and leader of the effort, described the dangers parents face navigating The Plaza with children, “Getting across this street means exposing yourself to surprisingly high-speed traffic through a residential area that often sports numerous people walking to and from stores, kids out and about, parents with strollers and people on bicycles and tricycles, all on narrow sidewalks with no way to get across this main street. As a father of two young children I personally experienced close calls while strolling my babies.”
Stevan’s struggles are not unique as nearly 1,000 people have signed the Stroll and Roll petition. Neighbors are not the only Charlotteans pushing for safer solutions. The petition has also been endorsed by the Commonwealth-Morningside, Chantilly, Belmont, Elizabeth and Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Associations and has the support of the Plaza Midwood Merchants Association.
The petition calls for 3 miles of safety facilities to increase connectivity in a densely populated area, provide direct economic benefits for neighborhood businesses, give community members more transportation options, reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.
“A Complete Street design will promote and encourage the use of alternative transportation by providing an easy cycling route to uptown, better access to existing bus stops, and connectivity to the Cross Charlotte Trail and streetcar system,” Stroll and Roll Plaza Midwood Chair Renee Bradley told City Council. “Vehicle congestion will be reduced only when people are given the option to choose other modes of transportation.”
Sustain Charlotte’s bike program manager, Kate Cavazza, also spoke in support of the Stroll and Roll petition and urged City Council to consider this project as complementary to CDOT’s preliminary plans to pursue a road diet on Parkwood Avenue.
One potential solution to meet these challenges is illustrated in the renderings below, courtesy of Eric Zaverl, an Elizabeth resident.