University City

Charlotte and the school system are seeking input on Rocky River Road West streetscape

A meeting to outline connectivity improvements – especially for pedestrians and cyclists – along Rocky River Road West will be Aug. 26, and officials say they want to hear residents’ thoughts and reactions.

Although the improvements aren’t funded yet, projects likely will include adding left-turn lanes, bike lanes, sidewalks, plantings and street lights to the nearly 3/4-mile stretch between North Tryon Street and Batavia Lane, said Cary Chereshkoff, the project manager from Charlotte’s engineering and property management department.

Officials from the Chartlotte Area Transit System and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools also will attend the meeting, Chereshkoff said. The officials will answer questions about the Blue Line Extension light rail project as well as construction progress on the new Newell Elementary School on Rocky River Road West, scheduled to open in August 2015.

Nearly 200 residents attended a July 31 local transportation project update meeting. Chereshkoff said there was some confusion about whether Rocky River Road West would be widened.

No additional traffic lanes are planned, she said, but some curves will be realigned. Bike lanes, sidewalks and turn lanes will be added, and, possibly, some steep grades along the road will be flattened.

The left-turn lanes will help accommodate traffic expected at the new elementary school, as well as the Arcadia off-campus student-living development at North Tryon and Rocky River Road West, Chereshkoff said.

City officials hope to have the preliminary planning phase for the Rocky River Road West streetscape completed by the end of 2014. Once planning is complete, officials will be able to estimate the project cost, Chereshkoff said.

The proposed improvements are part of the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Program, she said. Funding will depend on voter approval of nearly $16.6 million in general obligation bonds this fall. That money would be earmarked for improving pedestrian, bike and vehicle access to Blue Line Extension transit stations.

The Rocky River Road West streetscape also will be partially funded by CMS and Arcadia developers, who will pay the cost of their own right-of-way improvements into a project fund, Chereshkoff said.

The city will incorporate those imrpovements into the larger streetscape concept and build all of them under one project to minimize disruptions due to construction.

Officials expect to have a project website launched before the Aug. 26 meeting, under the “Transportation Projects” listing on the city’s engineering and property management department page.