City News

Wanted: More greenway access

Mallard Creek Greenway has a lovely billing: Walk the miles of paved paths and they say you can find everything from blue herons to gray foxes, red-tailed hawks and butterflies like bright orange monarchs and gulf fritillaries.

Mehl Renner wants to make it easier to do that.

Unless your house backs up to the greenway – and many do – it's not an easily accessible path. So Renner's proposing an access be built from the CATS park-and-ride lot on J.N. Pease Place, off Mallard Creek Road.

“The convenience of this lot would be awesome,” said Renner, a city procurement officer who's lived in that area of University City for 10 years. “You already have an awful lot of people parking there. So if they had access from the lot, they could walk or run the greenway before work, or after a long day.

“And on weekends, that lot's totally empty – even more convenient for weekend users.”

There is access. West of Interstate 85, you can enter at Countryside Montessori School on Mallard Creek Road, but parking's limited. There's also parking at Mallard Creek Elementary. But you have to compete with school cars and the greenway is down a long hill, difficult to maneuver if you have a chronic ailment like Renner's gimpy ankle.

East of the interstate, the lone public access is at Kirk Farm Soccer Fields.

“I just don't think that's enough,” said Renner, president of the Forest Pond Homeowners Association. “Everybody needs to have access to our precious green space, because there's becoming less and less of it.”

Connecting the lot to the greenway could be tricky. Between the two are a power line right-of-way and a chunk of private property that would need to be acquired. Then a bridge to ford Mallard Creek would have to be built to get to the greenway, said Julie Clark, a greenway planner with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, which oversees all the county's greenways.

Yet Clark loves the idea.

“It is a great opportunity to provide the alternative transportations that we're all for,” Clark said.

By that, she means that people could park at the lot and pedal to nearby University Research Park and to University Place shops and UNC Charlotte.

Her department has begun exploring the idea. As yet, it has no money to buy land and build a bridge.

“Making this greenway more accessible makes sense since it is the longest greenway in the county, and is one of the most popular,” she said. “It, by far, has got the most potential.”

David Feltman, a project manager in CATS' development office, said the agency wants to double the 204 spaces already at that lot, but the expansion likely would take place across J.N. Pease from the lot's shelters.

Still, he said CATS would support helping Clark's office make the connection to the greenway.

“We would open up the edge of our lot for a pathway to enter into the greenway,” Feltman said. “We don't have anything but support for their efforts.”

Mallard Creek Greenway has a lovely billing: Walk the miles of paved paths and they say you can find everything from blue herons to gray foxes, red-tailed hawks and butterflies like bright orange monarchs and gulf fritillaries.

Mehl Renner wants to make it easier to do that.

Unless your house backs up to the greenway – and many do – it's not an easily accessible path. So Renner's proposing an access be built from the CATS park-and-ride lot on J.N. Pease Place, off Mallard Creek Road.

“The convenience of this lot would be awesome,” said Renner, a city procurement officer who's lived in that area of University City for 10 years. “You already have an awful lot of people parking there. So if they had access from the lot, they could walk or run the greenway before work, or after a long day.

“And on weekends, that lot's totally empty – even more convenient for weekend users.”

There is access. West of Interstate 85, you can enter at Countryside Montessori School on Mallard Creek Road, but parking's limited. There's also parking at Mallard Creek Elementary. But you have to compete with school cars and the greenway is down a long hill, difficult to maneuver if you have a chronic ailment like Renner's gimpy ankle.

East of the interstate, the lone public access is at Kirk Farm Soccer Fields.

“I just don't think that's enough,” said Renner, president of the Forest Pond Homeowners Association. “Everybody needs to have access to our precious green space, because there's becoming less and less of it.”

Connecting the lot to the greenway could be tricky. Between the two are a power line right-of-way and a chunk of private property that would need to be acquired. Then a bridge to ford Mallard Creek would have to be built to get to the greenway, said Julie Clark, a greenway planner with Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation, which oversees all the county's greenways.

Yet Clark loves the idea.

“It is a great opportunity to provide the alternative transportations that we're all for,” Clark said.

By that, she means that people could park at the lot and pedal to nearby University Research Park and to University Place shops and UNC Charlotte.

Her department has begun exploring the idea. As yet, it has no money to buy land and build a bridge.

“Making this greenway more accessible makes sense since it is the longest greenway in the county, and is one of the most popular,” she said. “It, by far, has got the most potential.”

David Feltman, a project manager in CATS' development office, said the agency wants to double the 204 spaces already at that lot, but the expansion likely would take place across J.N. Pease from the lot's shelters.

Still, he said CATS would support helping Clark's office make the connection to the greenway.

“We would open up the edge of our lot for a pathway to enter into the greenway,” Feltman said. “We don't have anything but support for their efforts.”

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