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Charlotte unveils Beatties Ford Road corridor upgrades

Completion of a project to upgrade the Beatties Ford Road corridor will result in a strengthened business community and safer pedestrian access in the area, city officials said Thursday at the project’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The $3.65 million city-funded project, finished in May, aims to make the area more attractive to shoppers and developers while also being more pedestrian-friendly.

Improvements include street medians with plants, new pedestrian crossings, wider sidewalks and decorative lighting. There are also six bus shelters featuring public art and a monument at the Montana-Gilbert street intersection.

“What you see today is the beginning of the economic development and community revitalization,” said Aaron McKeithan, president of Historic West End Neighborhood Association.

“Hopefully this will change the image as it rebrands the corridor with history of West End.”

The project’s aim is to recruit higher-quality and higher-density retail and mixed-use development while preserving West End’s history. Construction began in the fourth quarter of 2011.

McKeithan added the construction did not disrupt traffic and went smoothly. The community has already started to see benefits, he said, pointing to the increased traffic flow.

North Carolina artist David Wilson used historic photographs to create the public art that honors civic leaders from Charlotte’s African-American community. Pictures and quotations from civic leaders provide a backdrop behind the bus shelters.

“This is an opportunity for us on a community basis to collect art,” said Carolyn Flowers, Charlotte Area Transit System CEO. “We have not incorporated color into our shelters before, so this is vibrant.”

Flowers said the Beatties Ford corridor has the third highest ridership in the bus system, with more than 1.2 million riders annually.

“For CATS, transportation is not about taking people from one place to another, it’s about enhancing our communities,” she said.

“Besides the convenience, we want to make sure everyone enjoys their ride. We take great pride and pleasure in what we’ve created here today.”

Crampton: 704-358-5112; Twitter: @liz_crampton
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