Development

Protected bike lane uptown: Good idea? Terrible idea? Share your thoughts

As Charlotte grows more and more dense, one of the recurring questions is how best to connect roads and greenways to make sure everyone – cars, bikes and pedestrians – can move around.

The Charlotte Department of Transportation is conducting a study called “Uptown Connects,” examining ways to link up the city’s greenways and trails through uptown and the surrounding neighborhoods (You can find a more detailed rundown of the study and its goals online at http://charmeck.org/city/charlotte/Transportation/PlansProjects/Pages/UptownUrbanTrailConnectionsStudy.aspx).

“CDOT is evaluating options gathered from previous stakeholder interviews to connect the Little Sugar Creek, Irwin Creek and Stewart Creek greenways,” the agency said. “The study also considers linking the South End and Uptown segments of the Charlotte Rail Trail and the future Mooresville to Charlotte Trail. The study will recommend a comprehensive bicycle network in Uptown.”

To that end, CDOT is hosting a public workshop on Sept. 20 to gather public feedback. The meeting will be in the Room 267 of the Government Center uptown, and people can drop in anytime from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. CDOT is planning to hold another meeting in November, submit a draft study in December, and start demonstration projects in the spring of 2017.

One of the biggest changes CDOT is evaluating would be converting one lane of an existing road in uptown into a dedicated bicycle lane. Such a “protected” bike lane, as they’re known, would be physically separated from traffic with some sort of barrier. Sustain Charlotte has advocated in favor of such a bike lane, which would make it easier for cyclists to ride uptown by offering them more protection from cars.

“By connecting the Irwin Creek Greenway and Little Sugar Creek Greenway through a bike lane across Uptown Charlotte, access to Uptown will be spread to several Charlotte neighborhoods,” Sustain Charlotte said in a presentation to City Council last month . “Furthermore, implementing a ‘protected bike lane,’ though the incorporation of various barriers between cyclists and motorists, would increase safety and promote use.”

So, what do you think – good idea, or not? Let me know, or show up Sept. 20 to tell CDOT.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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