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Cross Charlotte Trail could stretch from Pineville to NoDa by 2019

Last week, the city and county approved the latest addition to the Cross Charlotte Trail — a short chunk of trail that will connect the end of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway at Parkwood Avenue to 24th Street.

Construction on this $1.2 million segment — split pretty much evenly between the city and the county — should start in March or April and be completed by the end of the year, according to City of Charlotte project manager Joe Frey. The trail will go under Parkwood, continue following the creek and run alongside North Davidson to 24th.

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It’s a really small piece, but a sign of progress on the cross-city, unbroken greenway.

When I first wrote about the Cross Charlotte Trail, which should eventually go all the way from University City to Pineville, it was a little unclear just how long it would take to actually come to fruition. So I was honestly a little surprised to hear this: Frey believes the trail could be complete from Matheson Avenue in NoDa all the way down to Pineville by 2019.

There is already trail from 10th to Parkwood, and from Park Road Shopping Center to Seventh. The rest is either being built or planned right now, Frey said. Much of it hinges on $30 million in bonds proposed for 2016.

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Here are some key parts of the trail that need to be built.

From 7th to 10th

This is a hard one. This part of the trail will have to find some way to cross over Independence/277.

A short-term plan involves using the Central Avenue bridge, marking off a two-way bike path on Central that would be separate from the road and connecting that to trails on either side.

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The bigger dream: Build an iconic, swooping pedestrian/cyclist bridge over the highways. Frey and Sustain Charlotte Bicycle Program Director Jordan Moore both think this has the potential to be a visual centerpiece in the city and a symbol of the city’s commitment to pedestrians and alternate modes of transportation.

“I have not been able to quit dreaming about (the bridge) since it has come to my attention,” Moore said via email. “Constructing a bridge over this particular juncture would not only complete a vital section of the XCLT trail, it would do so in a way that would allow anybody driving under it to look up and see hundreds upon hundreds of people a day using their own power for mobility.”

Park Road Shopping Center to Tyvola

Little Sugar Creek Greenway currently ends on Brandywine Road, right behind the shopping center. The plan is to eventually take it under Brandywine and continue south to Tyvola. Here’s a proposed route:

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(Click here for a PDF of the map to get more detail.)

Tyvola to Huntingtown Farms Park

The county recently approved a contract for this part, which should be completed by early next year, according to this Charlotte Observer article.

Bonus: Connecting the Cross Charlotte Trail to Ballantyne (and beyond)

The main Cross Charlotte Trail would stretch 26 miles across the city. But with one small connector, it could link to about five more miles of trail, and reach into Ballantyne and all the way over to Rea Road.

There’s a plan — pending budget approval — to build a connector from part of the Cross Charlotte Trail in Pineville to the existing McMullen Creek/Lower McAlpine/Four Mile Creek greenway that runs from Pineville Matthews Road, through Ballantyne, and over to Rea Road.

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Learn more at the Cross Charlotte Trail website, where screenshots of the trail segments in this article came from.

Photo: Corey Inscoe