During the school year, senior Kadeen Anthony rides his bike around UNC Charlotte’s campus four times a week, to and from his apartment at Campus Edge Apartments and his classes.
But sometimes it’s unsafe, he said, to ride on busy roads such as University City Boulevard. Drivers don’t always pay attention to cyclists, and he has to weave between the roads and the sidewalk where there is not a bike lane, he said.
But once a large multi-use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians is completed in 2014, Anthony and other UNC Charlotte students who bike or walk to class each day will no longer have to share the busy road with hundreds of drivers.
The Charlotte City Council approved funding earlier this year for the pathway along N.C. 49, also known as University City Boulevard.
The sidewalk is meant to accommodate both cyclists and walkers, said Troy Eisenberger, senior projects manager for the city.
“The area and its (residents) will benefit by having an accessible and comfortable place to bike and walk,” Eisenberger said in an email.
The path will run alongside major UNCC entrances and Mallard Creek Church Road. The area is home to many student apartments and neighborhoods, and several more apartment complexes are being constructed along the road this summer.
About 1 percent of students and faculty bike to school each day, according to UNC Charlotte’s master plan.
Eisenberger said the city has been planning the 10-foot-wide, multi-use bike path and sidewalk since 2008. Some of the walkway will be available for students to use as early as this fall.
The part of the pathway to be built on campus will be brick. The rest will be asphalt, according to a press release.
Lt. Shawn Smith, a police officer for UNC Charlotte’s campus safety division, said most incidents involving pedestrians hit on University City Boulevard occur while the pedestrian is crossing the road.
“But it would still be a good thing for safety reasons,” he said.
Construction of the path along University City Boulevard and on campus will begin this summer. The project should be completed by next spring.
The City Council awarded the contract to Bullseye Construction, and the city will cover the $887,000 cost.
The project was started as part of the city’s sidewalk program, a $7.5-million program that uses a ranking system to provide money for sidewalk improvements to make the city more walkable.
The sidewalks are ranked based on safety issues, proximity to a school or neighborhood and the amount of traffic in the area.
About 300 pedestrians are involved in motor vehicle wrecks in Charlotte each year.
Anthony said he thinks the bike path near UNC Charlotte is a great idea if it’s large enough.
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