University City

Cross Charlotte Trail could one day link to Ballantyne

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s Cross Charlotte Trail eventually will link Ballantyne to the University area, greatly increasing the county’s popular greenway system.
The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County’s Cross Charlotte Trail eventually will link Ballantyne to the University area, greatly increasing the county’s popular greenway system.

The City of Charlotte soon will consider whether to add a $3 million request to the city’s 2016 bond referendum. The money would go to the Cross Charlotte Trail’s South Charlotte Connector.

That segment of trail would connect Little Sugar Creek Greenway to McMullen Creek Greenway. From there, people using the trail could walk or cycle to Ballantyne via the McAlpine Creek and Four Mile Creek greenways.

In notes about the proposed funding, the city states that “city and county staff have identified a significant partnership opportunity that could extend the XCLT Trail and additional 1.5 miles into the heart of Ballantyne.”

The connector would open up miles of trails to the many walkers, runners and cyclists who use Ballantyne’s trail system.

“Our impression is as we begin to link these segments of trail together, the volume (of users) will increase significantly,” said Dan Gallagher, transportation manager for Charlotte Department of Transportation.

The Cross Charlotte Trail eventually will be built from the South Carolina state line through Charlotte to Cabarrus County, following Mecklenburg County’s creek systems. It will link existing greenways with new trails, said Gwen Cook, director of Greenway Planning and Development Services for Mecklenburg County.

Cook said the county, which traditionally has taken the initiative on greenways, couldn’t build them fast enough.

“People are just clamoring (for them),” she said. “Groups like a business park or a development, they want the greenways there as an amenity for what they are building.”

The county has seen steady increase in greenway usage, especially on popular trails such as the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and the Four Mile Creek Greenway.

The county is getting ready to start construction on a section between Tyvola Road and HuntingtowneCQ FarmsCQ Park that will be about a mile, Cook said. Then they will continue to develop the trail to the state line, building it in one- to two-mile sections.

In the past few years, the City of Charlotte has begun partnering with Mecklenburg County to accelerate some segments of the trail, Gallagher said.

City and county planning staff liked the idea of connecting the XCLT longer trail to the Ballantyne area via existing greenways along McMullen Creek, McAlpine Creek and Fourmile Creek.

Design has already begun on the South Charlotte Connector and the potential 2016 bond funding would be used to construct this segment.

Most of the paved trail will run adjacent to a city water treatment plant, and the

city will build a trail bridge over McMullen Creek to connect it with the Cross Charlotte Charlotte Trail near I-485, Gallagher said.

“The benefit of this project is it’s almost entirely on city property,” Gallagher said. “We would be looking at trying to implement this project as quickly as possible.”

Marty Minchin is a freelance writer: martyminchin@gmail.com.

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