Are 'protected' bike lanes coming to Charlotte?
The city of Charlotte is considering adding protected bicycle lanes – in which the bicycles are protected from cars by a physical barrier – through uptown.
City Council’s transportation committee heard a presentation from city staff about the plan at their meeting Monday. The protected bicycle lanes would run east-west across uptown, linking existing greenways on opposite ends of the city’s center, and would be the city’s first such lanes. One would run along Fifth and Sixth streets, while one would run parallel to Stonewall Street from Bank of America Stadium to Pearl Street Park.
Sustain Charlotte has been promoting the idea of protected bicycle lanes, which are safer for bicyclists, in the hopes of encouraging more people to get around by bike. One of the main reasons people give for not biking as much as they say they want to is a lack of feeling safe on the city’s busy streets.
The city has been studying the issue and holding meetings with people in the community since last summer. Each of the proposed bicycle corridors would face challenges, including funding from the city. The 1.9-mile Fifth/Sixth Street route would be a two-way, protected bicycle lane, and would eliminate some parking spaces and travel lanes for cars.
The Belk Greenway corridor, as the other proposed bicycle lane is being called, would run 1.8 miles and be built in multiple phases. Some would be a mixed-use path, some would be bicycle-only. Much of the lane would be built in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Stonewall Street corridor, in which private companies are rebuilding nearly every block on the street with new apartments, office buildings and shops. That would, of course, require cooperation with multiple different property owners.