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Traffic Congestion and Highway Construction

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I hope this road is shelved forever. Anyone with half a brain can see that building out infrastructure for sprawl will only lead to more sprawl. If you want to know about utility and service cut/crisis - look into the future and realize that Duke Energy, municipal utilities such as power, sewer and garbage, the US Post Office, and countless other "services" which are directly linked to taxes, CAN NOT afford to keep providing services to sprawled out locales. USPS is thinking of cutting service on Saturday to save money, when really they should stop subsidizing people's obsession with living in the middle of no where - the amount of money spent on those little rural jeeps to carry junk mail to them is the biggest disaster (not to mention the waste of gasoline). I'm not saying everyone should live in the city, but if you choose to live like the Unibomber, you should assume that you will not get the same level of services that you would if you lived inside civilization. WOW RANT! GOOD MORNING.

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I guess I'll start this debate again. Garden Parkway is 3.5 miles from the city center of Gastonia. Is it your proposition that all infrastructure outside of a 3.5 mi radius of a city is sprawl-supportive and should stop? NoDa is 3.5 mi from downtown, so in that logic for a moratorium of all infrastructure outside the 3.5/4 mi radius of a city center is sprawl-supportive, then would mean that the Blue Line Extension should be cut in half and stop at Sugar Creek.

Not to be an Asian rainstorm or anything.

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I guess I'll start this debate again. Garden Parkway is 3.5 miles from the city center of Gastonia. Is it your proposition that all infrastructure outside of a 3.5 mi radius of a city is sprawl-supportive and should stop? NoDa is 3.5 mi from downtown, so in that logic for a moratorium of all infrastructure outside the 3.5/4 mi radius of a city center is sprawl-supportive, then would mean that the Blue Line Extension should be cut in half and stop at Sugar Creek.

Not to be an Asian rainstorm or anything.

Darn you Dubone! I was in a cranky mood this morning.

The point is this: at some point there should be a moratorium on outward growth. It's common for European cities to place restrictions on development on the fringe of a city - this means that the city is the city, and the country remains the country. You may get "villages" (subdivisions), but they are still clusters of housing (where the cost of utilities and services can be better absorbed).

So in retrospect my point was a cry to keep the city as city, and the country as country.

Ballantine taught us what happens when an interstate loop is built on the fringe of the country - it ceases to be the fringe.

And then you turn into Houston (sorry to TX friends).

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:) I know what you are saying, I guess I'm just being the devil's advocate on this. I think I really am on the fence. I won't really be sad to see the project canceled, same as I was surprised when it was announced as a proposal when the turnpike authority was created. That said, I feel like we have far worse infrastructure, and that this project is still primarily about freight transport between a heavily industrial county and the airport and new intermodal terminal than inter-county commuting. And also that infrastructure funds in general are so hard to come by in this region I just have a tendency to be supportive.

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http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/03/26/1336956/independence-plans-criticized.html

I'm incredulous. After decades of delay they finally get funding for the next stretch of Independence conversion and they want to delay it because of a new idea that completely alters the plans for the corridor that came about at the last minute?

Superstreet is just their way of saying, let's disallow left turns like is already the case at Sharon Amity, and save money. The problem is, I believe if they do that, it means the transit corridor in the center of the project will not be sealed and no bridges will be overhead, putting into jeopardy even the BRT plans and absolutely removing all possibility of light rail that the people of the corridor want eventually. Without bridges, people would need to cross the travel lanes at grade to get to the planned stations. Without the curved exit ramps, there will be no land for the planned park and rides for the transit stations. Without the bridges, the transit lanes would also need to have a red light as the cross streets had green lights.

This is absolute ineptitude. This is pretty much saying, let's just put some paint down and call it a day. Conti is saying that transit would work on Independence like HOUSTON!? Are you kidding me! Meanwhile we are actually planning to bridges for the light rail on North Tryon to avoid being like Houston. If transit works so well sitting behind a red light while people drive across the tracks, then let's cut those hundreds of millions from the blue line extension.

It feels like just another way to to rob Charlotte of transportation infrastructure and save money. The delays weren't enough, and neither were the robbing of this corridor's funds to pay for 485 without loop funds (another way to reduce the net funds coming to Charlotte), so now NCDOT wants to change the design dramatically and pretend it is enough.

This is so frustrating. And yet because someone came up with this asinine idea, they now have to delay everything to study it. Urban freeways are bad because driving is bad. But converting this corridor created the foundation for a transitway to get people out of their cars. Now we'll have the cars, the traffic lights, and no transit line. Oh, but we will have saved some money so they can build another freeway in Kingston.

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For you Garmin GPSers out there, the latest City Navigator version 2010.40, has all of completed I-485 and the new roads around the fourth runway at CLT.

May be available on others with Navteq maps. I see Bing.com (formerly MSN Maps) has the same revisions, they use Navteq also.

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Marshville wants its own Bypass to Anson County.

Seven years after planning first started, Marshville is ready to roll out its comprehensive transportation plan, the first individual municipality in Union County to take the step to address burgeoning growth’s impact on its roads. Created with help from the Rocky River Rural Planning Organization, the plan details the town’s needed improvements, from road widening to a proposed bypass.

“There is a need to improve U.S. Highway 74 in order to relieve future traffic congestion,” the plan reads. It cites a 2003 traffic study that projects by 2030 Marshville traffic will increase from 18,000 to 39,800 vehicles per day. That 117 percent growth would exceed the roads’ current capacity in most locations, leading to traffic jams for the town’s projected 3,500 residents, town officials say.

The plan also proposes Marshville’s own version of the Monroe bypass, albeit smaller. This bypass would begin on Hwy. 74, where it meets the eastern end of the Monroe project, looping around Marshville before coming back to the town at the intersection of Hwy. 74 and N.C. 1754, on the Anson County border.

http://www.carolinaweeklynewspapers.com/story/20100409/new-marshville-%C2%ADtransportation-plan-includes-bypass

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Talk about a good bidding climate. They estimated $185 million to finish I-485, they've awarded the contract to Blythe Construction for their bid of $119 million.

I can't wait to stop hearing about this.

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Happened to notice today that Google Maps Satellite images have been updated around Charlotte. Now showing completed 4th runway. From what I saw based on new construction in my area, they can't be more than a couple of months old.

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I noticed that, too. It says the photo date is April 11.

I noticed that the other day when I saw my car parked unusually on the satellite (almost all of April I didn't pull all the way into my spot thanks to a nest of birds in the tree above.) And judging by the amount of pollen in the lake near my place, I'd say that's about right. It's nice to have some more up-to-date info which shows off Charlotte's green canopy a little better than the previous images which I think were from winter last year.

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The Garden Parkway is going to end up like the Southern Connector in Greenville, S.C. - a failure. Traffic there is half of what was projected.

Here's a good write-up on it: Greenville Southern Connector headed for bankruptcy

From the article, it was "located to serve development, not to relieve congestion."

North Carolina is taking a huge gamble on the Garden Parkway.

And there's the shoe. South Carolina Toll Road in Rare Chapter 9 Bankruptcy. I HOPE NCDOT IS PAYING ATTENTION. (I haven't had my hopes crushed enough lately...)

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^I still think completing Independence to 485 would make a better Turnpike project than the Garden Parkway, especially since that "missing freeway" links up with what will be the first Turnpike in the Charlotte region, the Monroe Parkway.

However, I wonder if the Garden Parkway already has a better shot than the Southern Connector, since that Gaston County project won't be completed until well after the Charlotte region has many more tolled miles (Monroe Parkway, I-77 HOT lanes, maybe Independence?) of expressway, and thus, the personal vehicle transponders, debit accounts, and tolling culture to go with it. By that time, I-85 itself may be tolled, the way highway revenues are going.

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Forgive me if these links have been posted anywhere else, I haven't been able to find them. But compliments of WSOCTV's website, here are a couple of road project visualizations in the area:

Modification of 85/485 Interchange Visualization

it isn't quite as epic as the 77/485 interchange as was originally suggested, but I like the overall design and flow of the interchange.

Final Section of 485 Visualization

this rendering has some very interesting concepts for services roads involving roundabouts. If the final segment's winning bid included these as well, I'd say the government got a great deal.

New 85/Yadkin River Bridge Visualization

And here is a mock-up pdf for the new 29/49 connector to 85 as well as the new City/University City/Tryon intersection. Apparently most of this stretch will be closed off at some point or another for the next year during construction. One I remember hearing about on the news was that University City Blvd would be cut off from Tryon during the entire first year of construction I believe starting today. This should make for some incredibly interesting traffic patterns throughout university for the next year.

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Many have been posted on NCDOT's youtube site for a little while. I stumbled onto them a few months ago.

http://www.youtube.com/user/NCDOTcommunications

Go to their visualizations playlist.

As for 485, it is my understanding that they added the little grid and roundabouts at Prosperity Church a while ago. I assume it would be part of the expectations the bids would be building it as designed.

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The grid at Prosperity Church Rd is in the MUMPO Thoroughfare Plan. Unless you hear otherwise expect that to happen with the roundabouts and everything.

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So apparently in addition to completing the 485 loop there is also an official go ahead by NCDOT to start widening the 485 (I assume Southern loop) starting in 2014.

Anyone know more about this?

Reference/Source:

Fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30. Other start dates are fiscal 2011 for I-295 in Fayetteville, 2013 for an I-40 and US 17 project in Wilmington, 2014 for an I-485 widening in Charlotte, 2014 and 2017 for the next sections of Greensboro's loop, and 2020 for Greenville's Southwest Bypass.

"This is a realistic schedule," Beaty said.

Read more: http://www.newsobser...l#ixzz0vAdtNda2

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So apparently in addition to completing the 485 loop there is also an official go ahead by NCDOT to start widening the 485 (I assume Southern loop) starting in 2014.

Anyone know more about this?

Yes, widening I-485 from I-77 to U.S. 521.

Here is a document dated 2010 July 22 from the NCDOT with the schedule: Urban Loop Prioritization Process DRAFT Schedule

The NCDOT's Transportation Reform page has a lot of great information.

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This was over a month ago, but apparently the city is applying (has applied) for a grant to do design and planning for a Community House Rd bridge over 485.

http://ballantynedaily.blogspot.com/2010/07/city-to-apply-for-grant-to-design-n.html

As noted in the comments, this bridge is on the MUMPO list for candidate projects for 2011-2017, in the loop funding section.

As we've discussed before on this site, this bridge would almost certainly be a great help to the traffic along Johnston/521 in the Torringdon/485/Ballantyne Commons area. (And I would personally love it, since I live at the south end of Community House.)

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The interstates around uptown will get color coordinated signage that lists all the key destinations in each quadrant of uptown and then direct people how to get to that quadrant. So you'll see that Discovery Place and Imaginon are listed in Uptown North and you'll follow the signs to Uptown North which will direct you to Brookshire Freeway. You'll see that Bechtler and Nascar HOF are in Uptown South and you'll follow the signs to Uptown South which will direct you Belk Freeway. It'll be like at a multi-terminal airports, where you first see the list of which airline is at which terminal and then you follow signs to that terminal.

I still wish they had used the wards themselves, but it is a very good plan and I am happy they are doing it. It will make it much easier to give people directions to places uptown.

This is not good for the Wards. Not good at all. Check out the map in the link below. Not only does it not get the wayfinding zones right, it completely ignores the Wards.

http://www.examiner.com/x-56691-Charlotte-Sightseeing-Examiner~y2010m8d5-Introduction-to-uptown-Charlotte

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^I always wondered why the wayfinding program just didn't re-enforce the wards by labelling First, Second, Third, and Fourth, respectively East, South, West, and North. Considering that Trade and Tryon also mark off street addresses, you'd think that would make sense.

Many cities use quadrants delineated by their "main and main" streets for wayfinding, such as Indianapolis:

http://www.indydt.co...eractivemap.cfm

Edited by southslider

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That is disgusting! We have a really simple wards. This creation of new zones that ignore the blocks let alone people's typical way of describing what part of uptown they are in (wards) have set the tone for this crap. That is a horrifying map. I couldn't even bring myself to read the words.

CCCCCCCP needs to just stop. This is just frustrating.

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