Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another road diet, this one for South Tryon

This is a street project I can love. The city wants to widen the sidewalks on South Tryon Street over I-277, plus create bike lanes. The picture above is an artist's rendering of what it might look like, looking north toward the skyline. Note the lovely Charlotte Observer building at left, just over the bridge. Here's what it looks like now. The idea is to make South Tryon Street between Stonewall Street (the corner where the Observer office and the Gantt Center sit) and Carson Boulevard (the street formerly known as Independence Boulevard until I-277 was born) more suitable for pedestrians and bicyclists. If you want to hear more, there's a public meeting today at 5:30 p.m. at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center, in room 280.

The city intends to start with a 90-demonstration project, starting March 15. They'll temporarily restripe the lanes on the pavement and put up bollards. Tryon will go from four lanes to three - two northbound and one southbound - between Stonewall and Carson. "It's going to require some signal phase tweaking" for the traffic light at Morehead and Tryon, says Jim Kimbler with the Charlotte Department of Transportation.

The goal is to turn the excessively wide four-lanes into three lanes with better sidewalks, especially over the bridge. Currently when you walk over the I-277 bridge you're on a 5-foot back-of-curb sidewalk looking down on traffic zooming below. It is not pleasant. And because I work at that spot I can report that traffic on Tryon is usually sparse. Jay-walking is routine, and easy.

Why a demonstration project? The bridge is state-owned, as is South Tryon south of Morehead, so the N.C. DOT has veto power, and it wants to make sure that the changes won't foul traffic or hurt the bridge. If the state agrees the "street diet" will work, then the city will move forward.

Tryon between Morehead and Carson isn't as wide as the section over I-277. Kimbler said the sidewalks there won't be widened right away, because the city hopes development in the near future will produce better sidewalks. Let us hope that is the case, or that the city will improve the sidewalks if no development ensues in a year or so. The photo here is what the sidewalk is like now. It is not a scene that makes your heart sing.

29 comments:

consultant said...

No. Se trata de una acera a ninguna parte.

Pon algo de uso en cada extremo y la gente va a usar.

Anonymous said...

South Tryon is used by a lot more folks that just those in South End. Why the heck does this backwards city insist on reducing the number of lanes on major roads while at the same time not adding new roads and also while adding a trolley in the middle of the driving lane? Do we want to become L.A. and sit in our cars for hours on end? A very small population walks or bikes to work and it will always be that way no matter how much mass transit we have. Spend my tax money on making new roads and repairing the ones we have--and let the bikes ride onthe sidewalks where it is a whole lot safer anyway. Good grief.

Bill said...

It's time CLT enters the 21st century and expands the motorways to allow better bike and pedestrian access. Anon @ 5:21 is another example of 'head-in-the-sand' thinking. The reason you don't see more bikes and peds is because they take their life into their hands every time they walk that stretch of road. Other cities have shown that a more progressive vision will result in a more liveable city. Good grief!

Anonymous said...

Spend that money!!! Hurry, before it runs out

Anonymous said...

One is not a sidewalk nowhere Pon something of use in each end and people is going to use

Anonymous said...

the road diet has worked very well on East blvd. No reason to think it can't also be an improvement here.

Anonymous said...

It's about time they made that stretch of road safer for non-motorists. A lot of motorists drive way too fast through that area, don't bother to look for pedestrians when they make their right-on-red turns, and in general have tunnel vision when driving.

We need to start thinking of our city neighborhoods as just that instead of a conduit for high speed travel to and from the suburbs. Slower traffic helps the businesses in these neighborhoods and helps spur foot traffic in these areas.

There is a growing amount of foot traffic in South End, this can only help promote this!

WashuOtaku said...

The artist rendition is missing a couple notable buildings, including one very BIG building on South Tryon. It also added more trees, to give that green touch when reality there are not that many trees to start. Beyond the artist rendition... it's a reasonable idea. So sure, lets test it out some and see how it goes.

Claire Voyance said...

They want to make the city more pedestrian friendly, too bad they didn't extend the sidewalk along the light rail from the southend directly into uptown.

Amazes me the lack of insight from our leaders.

WashuOtaku said...

consultant said...
"No. It is a sidewalk to nowhere. Put some use at each end and people will use."

Yay Google Translator! This is probably the first "slightly negative" comment from you; typically your serenading Mary, so I guess you converted to Spanish so it wouldn't offend her that much.

Granted, your right, not much of anything south of John Belk Freeway, which is why the artist rendition didn't do south. But there is hope... hope that if they build it they will come; haven't you ever seen "Field of Dreams."

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, I live artists renditions of a liberal utopia. All fairy tales and fantsay. And soon coming at you the trolley for thugs that will cost the tax payer in lala land $1.5 million a year to run. Yeah Mary.

Anonymous said...

Claire, that pedestrian bridge was included in the original design but was cut in order to keep the light rail project costs only rediculously over budget instead of incredibly rediculously over budget.

You're right, though, it's embarassing that a pedestrian bridge is missing there.

Dr. Horrible said...

If you people are dumb enough to want it to be harder to get into/out of uptown... well, just hope you don't work there.

I do wonder if there will be a boost in property values for the Disturber, though. Could be important, since that property is the only real asset they have.

Anonymous said...

That's "love" for you spelling nazis.

cluck you said...

i like the project

Anonymous said...

There is hardly any traffic on that part of South Tryon, even during rush hour. All the people complaining about this project causing "increased traffic" and "we need more lanes" are out of touch with reality. I bet you don't even work Uptown or use that road. And comparing traffic in Charlotte to LA is laughable and it is clear you have never been to LA! The traffic here is not even close and never will be that bad in our lifetimes.

I love this project and think it is long overdue. I hope it gets built!

Ghoul said...

Just add a velodrome uptown for all the bicycles to use. I say use eminent domain to confiscate the Observer building, and tear it down. Its not being used anyway.

Anonymous said...

I love the rendering. I see lots of people walking across that bridge everyday during rush hour. This project will make it more appealing to more people to walk or bike into Uptown from South End. It will also help unify the two areas together and create a more visually appealing entrance into Uptown as well. I like it!!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Oops, I mean "your comments aren't funny". I just wanted to correct myself before all the English teachers come out from under their rocks and reprimand me!!!

Anonymous said...
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tozmervo said...

I can't wait for this project to roll out. The sidewalk along there is crazy undersized right now. When I walk it with coworkers, two or three people usually end up walking in the street - which is fine, since traffic is so light along there anyway.

I hope they look at a pedestrian upgrade for the intersection of Carson and Tryon, too, which has huge curb radii (thanks to it's Independence history, I reckon), and there's no pedestrian cross walk at all on the east side of Tryon.

Anonymous said...

How can we afford to do any of this? Isn't the city facing a $9 million dollar shorfall?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
barkomomma said...

We ought to rip up all the streets and sidewalks inside 277 and force all building and surface lots out.

That way, we can have more room for toys like the arena and Nice-car museums and boost ridership on buses and trains and make uptown more better.

Just sayin'.

Cato said...

Anything that makes getting to and from Uptown Cabaret easier...

J said...

Anon 05:21 - I'm totally with you on the streetcar. It's a useless thing that will benefit no one. But I, and a ton of other people, have simply had with the mentality that a car is the one and only way that people should move from point A to point B. By using mass transit, bikes and our feet, we can drastically reduce our oil consumption, which would lead to cleaner air and help eliminate the fact that Middle Eastern countries rule us by being our oil suppliers.

I'm guessing you have never gotten anywhere other than by car in your life. I can see you now, getting in your car to go to the convenience store 2 blocks from your house. And you ignore the part of the population that is physically unable to drive. I'm sure you just decide in your mind that those beings aren't humans. You probably try to run people over that are walking or biking. Heck, you might even be the cat that tried to run me over yesterday.

And since you believe that cars, and only cars, are the right way to move people, you probably haven't noticed the condition of a lot of the sidewalks around here. For example, there is NOTHING safer about the sidewalks shown in the pictures on this post.

So I hope this project goes through and is successful. There are tons of other places where non-car travelers need help - how about the intersection of Independence & Village Lake Dr, where there are 4 places to cross the street but only one crosswalk and a bunch of frustrated NASCAR wannabe drivers who seem hell-bent on running over anything moving slower than them, be it another car or a person on foot or a bike?

CedarPosts said...

As long as it has artistic trash cans every 50 feet.

Maybe we could retro-fit Observer newspaper boxes to do the job.

A historic nod to the newspaper that once stood at the same location.

2whls3spds said...

@ J

Good points and well put. CLT and for that matter most towns and cities need to subscribe to Complete Streets I have seen several that have been done in other locales with great success. We need to get over the single occupant 3500# automobile as being the only way to move about.

Aaron