University City

Keeping pedestrians on their own path

Plans are under way for a pedestrian and bike path to improve safety on University City Boulevard near the entrance to UNC Charlotte.

The nearly 1-mile path will stretch from the Broadrick Boulevard to East Mallard Creek Road.

The path is expected to move pedestrians farther from fast-moving traffic on the state-owned highway. Cyclists also would gain benefits.

"There is a big gap in the sidewalks in the university area," said Sam Barber, project manager, Charlotte's engineering and property management department. "A lot of the kids are walking pretty close to traffic. It will give the cyclists a way to get out of the street. It can be kind of treacherous."

The path will cover a popular route for students and others who often travel to and from restaurants, a bookstore and other neighborhood services on University City Boulevard.

Charlotte Department of Transportation is working to get easements from property owners in order to build the $650,000 project.

The city is eligible for a reimbursement of up to $400,000 from the state through a grant for reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality.

UNC Charlotte will pay $50,000 to add brick pavers around its entrance.

A request for construction bids is expected to go out in late fall. Construction is expected to start at the end of the year, Barber said.

The asphalt path will be 10 feet wide, more spacious than the 5-foot sidewalk on the opposite side of University City Boulevard.

The path's distance from the roadway will vary from 10 to 25 feet, depending on the terrain.