CHARLOTTE, N.C. Driving to work in traffic can rattle the nerves, especially when a gathering as big as the Democratic National Convention is in full swing.
There are other options for commuters and visitors who need to go uptown: think sneakers and two-wheel squeakers.
Mecklenburg County’s greenways were designed to serve as an alternative form of transportation.
Walking or biking to uptown along a trail might even save time this week as tens of thousands of visitors squeeze inside the Interstate 277 loop for President Barack Obama’s nomination ceremony and other events.
Many uptown roads will be closed to motorists. Those that stay open probably will be well-traveled. Biking into the city is allowed in pedestrian areas, according to the Joint Information Center, which is handling government communications during the convention.
“Thursday would be a great day to bike into uptown Charlotte,” said Gwen Cook, planner for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation. Thursday is the day of the most extensive road closings.
Walking and bicycling are options even for those who don’t live in view of the city’s tallest buildings.
Bring a bike on city buses and light rail cars. If that won’t work, leave your vehicle at a public Park and Ride lot or some other parking space.
From a car, bus or train, plot a course to a greenway. Riding on sidewalks is permitted, except in uptown.
Little Sugar Creek Greenway includes a 3.3-mile trail that begins at Westfield and Brandywine roads, behind the Park Road Shopping Center.
Other access points are Freedom Park, 1900 E. Blvd.; Carolinas Medical Center, 1000 Blythe Blvd.; and the Metropolitan development, just south of uptown at Stonewall Street and Charlottetowne Avenue.
Little Sugar includes paved paths and city sidewalks.
Irwin Creek Greenway and Stewart Creek greenways combine to make a nearly 3-mile route to uptown from areas to the north and northwest.
Irwin Creek Greenway is a path to Wesley Heights, just west of uptown. Inside the Loop, Irwin moves into the Third Ward neighborhood.
Get access to the Irwin’s trails at Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center, 440 Tuckaseegee Road; Frasier Park; 1201 W. Fourth St. Ext.; Ray’s Splash Planet, 215 N. Sycamore St.; and at Bruns Academy, 501 S. Bruns Ave.
“It’s a great way to get exercise and to get where you need to go, without worrying about the hassle of where you’re going to park your car,” Cook said.
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