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AuLukey

University City Vision

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Featured in this week's University Times, University City Partners has actually been putting local's tax dollars to work. In the somewhat brief article on the front page (followed on pg 3,) they lay out both an illustration of the hopefully future of the WT Harris/N. Tryon intersection:

UniCityStation.jpg

It seems a bit much for an intersection to go from a six and four lane highways --not including the sea of turn lanes-- to go to a roundabout intersection with what seems to be two lanes entering the intersection, one going straight across/under the roundabout accompanied by the future light rail, and the other entering the traffic circle.

As gorgeous as this intersection would become compared to the football field sized intersection that lies there today, I feel a bit pessimistic that this vision for a "station" at this intersection could ever be possible. Figured I'd get you guy's take on it since you seem to be a little more rational on these types of decisions than most of our elected officials in this neck of the woods.

For those interested in the other changes to U.C. planned, here is a link to the pdf of the paper this week. In it they also mention *gasp* bike paths, sidewalks, crosswalks, landscaping and *even bigger gasp* more side roads.

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I wonder if it was just from the printer they used, but maybe they should call it an oblongabout

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Roundabouts in heavily used intersections are kinda scary. And the "inner ring" lane tends not to get occupied as much. I know this first hand from driving through the PCH "circle" in Long Beach.

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I think it would work better than most imagine, since all through-traffic of Harris just continue under the intersection and doesn't enter the traffic circle.

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I think it would work better than most imagine, since all through-traffic of Harris just continue under the intersection and doesn't enter the traffic circle.

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Well that intersection of Harris and Tryon is terrible, you can't get much worse than that from both an automotive and pedestrian perspective. I think the roundabout in the picture above would work better for both pedestrians and automobiles. That design reminds me of a lot of urban intersections in Washington DC.

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While the layout of those buildings also seems ideal, I can't imagine building businesses up on CMCU's land and land currently occupied by a fairly large BoA branch and a Walgreens. Seems a very confident developer would have to come in to help along with this plan if UCP really wants this to follow through.

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I think this design would look and feel cool as hell. Regarding the convergence of 3 different forms of traffic, I don't see this as a problem as the auto drivers will learn to avoid it because of the headache and it can become transit/pedestrian dominated. Reminds me much of several campuses I've been through that have connector roads through them, btu are so heavily trafficed with students, cars and buses that people learn to travel it via car only when absolutely necessary (drop offs, site seeing, etc.). I also like this because I think much of Harris boulevard needs a "face lift", hopefully this can spur this along.

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This is about the 5th plan like that for this area that I have seen which promise better days, including the original masterplan for the area which a very small amount was built. The reason that it has never happened is because all of the big corporate names in Charlotte own lots of the property there, and they have been able to consistantly derail plans like this over the years.

For example the NCDOT had orginally proposed a unique intersection at Tryon/Harris before Harris was basically built which would have accomplished something such as this. I saw a rendering for it sometime around 1984 or so. However CMC and NCNB did not want it because it would interfer with their plans to build University hospital and the NCNB branch (now BofA) diagonally across from it. And somehow the plans mysteriously disappeared and we got the stock intersection you see today.

It's a similar tale all over that area. That really screwed up Harris overpass over 49 where almost every access point is either a left turn and goes through a light was built that way to accomidate the strip mall next to it. This is the strip mall that has the Harris Teeter in it. I was told by someone in the know, the reason for it was the developer of that strip mall had powerful friends at the NCDOT and that intersection was screwed up because of him. Ever notice that strip mall is the only easy thing to get to from that intersection?

I think it is possible for University City to fix its woes, but they have 2.5 decades of really bad development there and city apathy towards the area to fix. It's especially important for them to do so if they are going to run LRT through there, or its a wasted opportunity. University City risks, what has happened on Freedom Drive, South Blvd, and Independence where the retail moved further out to 485 and left a bunch of empty big boxes. It's not there yet, but the rising crime rate is not a good sign. The key is if the city has the kahonas to put money into the area and start making decisions that will be unpopular with the powerful developers that seem to run things here. Charlotte city planning has alway been in react mode which isn't good.

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The key is if the city has the kahonas to put money into the area and start making decisions that will be unpopular with the powerful developers that seem to run things here.

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I agree with nmcheese. Adding more pedestrian friendly features will be nice but the area is so far gone and fundamentally sprawly that this plan will not radically change anything in the long run.

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If nothing else, this plan acknowledges the lunacy of the existing infrastructure. IF, and that's an incredibly big IF, University City is ever to have a there there (a town center), numerous changes must be made. First and foremost, traffic has to be calmed. That means that as much traffic as possible needs to be diverted onto I-85. Research suggests that walkability is unlikely in environments with cars traveling at speeds greater than 25 mph. Thus, the section of 29 between Harris and Mallard Creek Church needs to be more of a boulevard. In addition, the front door of the university needs to be on 29, making walkability and the ability to safely cross 29 an imperative. I've attended some UCP meetings and Mary Hopper knows that the current traffic patterns are anathemic to creating a vibrant town center. Bravo to UCP for pushing against the tide. As metro points out, the mistakes of the past are a prison for the present. However, neither UCP nor Phil Dubois were around when many of those mistakes were made.

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Spelling-fascist time - kahonas, probably meant cojones - spanish for testicles/balls.

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Mega-bump. I was reading in the paper today that the "nearly finished" University City Vision will be presented at the Hilton today. Unfortunately I have an exam later so I won't be able to attend the meeting, but it looks as though the LRT is a critical piece of this vision. While this map isn't what I'd call detailed, this map and highlights were on the O's website:

WEBucitymap.jpg

Vision Highlights

1. Transform North Tryon Street from semi-expressway to low-speed urban boulevard.

2. Create a new town center near Clay Boulevard and North Tryon.

3. Encourage development around three other light-rail stations on North Tryon Street in the University area.

4. Construct a grid of smaller streets throughout the business district to reduce congestion and encourage walking.

5. Develop housing near the transit stops, which will provide customers for local shops and the transit line.

6. Preserve the western part of UNC Charlotte as a natural area.

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Heh I saw that too, boy is that a mega old map they used. It has a proposed station right at where the CRI is and the CRI isn't on the map and the lightrail line is aparantly going through a parking lot near the newer police station. :rofl: Hopefully we will have a better map of it later

Surprised they say that crime is low compared as I am looking for an offcampus apt for next semester (I had a topic about this started awhile back maybe I should revist it) as just about every review for just about every apartment complex in the area on other websites has people complaining about their car being broken into like some kind of non-existant epidemic, yeah review sites suck.

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The report is crime in general, not larceny. The article on the politician bus tour had a little short blurb about it as well:

"Reported crime is down this spring in every category except larceny from autos, University City Division Capt. Roslyn Maglione said. She credited creation of the new patrol division in January for the dramatic improvement."

I'll take car theft over murder, breaking and entering, etc. If you have a decent car alarm, you have nothing to worry about. You're a moron if you live in UCity and you don't. And it is those morons that get their cars broken into. When I say car alarm, I don't mean the $80 one you can get at Walmart, those take a few snips of a simple pair of wire cutters to get around. Getting a bit off topic, I chose to move into Halton Park, the new complex at 485 and 49, because it has a great location and is still well shielded from 485's noise. It costs more (overall, not per square foot,) but was a lot nicer than the other locations I looked at this past weekend.

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That intersection is in dire need of an upgrade and i believe the roundabout would accomplish the goal of creating a safer intersection and becoming more pedestrain friendly but as of now the land that unique and walkable areas should be built is already in use and none of the businesses there currently promote any sort of pedestrian activity as there is a hospital, a bojangles and a bank of america not exactly places that i would even think about walking to. there really is no way that i can see this working as to provide university city with a "downtown" but it would be a massive step forward for that intersection on the safety level and would help lay the groundwork for a more urban and walkable area for university city in the future

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There's always the good ol' recking ball. I'm sure that if other businesses expressed interest in developing buildings along Tryon, BoA would be more than happy to build a new, larger branch closer to the road as the current one is a bit dated yet, extremely busy as it is. I think they are one company we could trust in to do what is better for the community compared to the mega-big box developers in that area. They are really the bigger hurdle. Get them on board and the pieces fall from there.

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That intersection is in dire need of an upgrade and i believe the roundabout would accomplish the goal of creating a safer intersection and becoming more pedestrain friendly but as of now the land that unique and walkable areas should be built is already in use and none of the businesses there currently promote any sort of pedestrian activity as there is a hospital, a bojangles and a bank of america not exactly places that i would even think about walking to. there really is no way that i can see this working as to provide university city with a "downtown" but it would be a massive step forward for that intersection on the safety level and would help lay the groundwork for a more urban and walkable area for university city in the future

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You're right. Right there, there's really no where to walk to. The hospital complex is all in itself. Just some businesses over by BOA and a couple of fast food places. Really, the only places that have any activity is the two story shopping center (that has NO parking) across the road from BOA (has CVS, Qdoba, etc.) and the monster complex diagonal to it that has the Wal-Mart, Boardwalk Billies, etc. That is the only corner of the four that has residential in it so there's really no incentive to promote connectivity it seems. Most everyone that goes to any of these corners has a purpose in mind (usually an errand or a meal), then they leave and go home. The only walkable area is the Wal-Mart one because it has the lake and some outdoor patio bars/restaurants.

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And that trend needs to hurry up and get here because that intersection is awful and really the whole side where the bank of america branch is needs to be torn down i mean how many people have ever gone to that Copelands most people have never even seen it behind that realty place the BoA building is getting dated and im sure they would like to upgrade and the residential as aussie said is down further towards the boardwalk not much in the immediate vacinity of the harris tryon intersection the wrecking ball is the only way i can see that intersection improving at all let alone having this proposal work

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....That is the only corner of the four that has residential in it so there's really no incentive to promote connectivity it seems. Most everyone that goes to any of these corners has a purpose in mind (usually an errand or a meal), then they leave and go home. The only walkable area is the Wal-Mart one because it has the lake and some outdoor patio bars/restaurants.

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I've only lived in the area since the mid-90's but I never knew that it was originally called University City. Is this the same University Place that exists today? I never knew it changed names if so. I do remember reading that the Best Buy in that complex was once BB's fourth largest volume store but now is operating at a loss. While I would love to see it go, along with that whole strip, it's really a shame that this has happened despite the massive population boom around it.

As I have said in the IKEA thread, I hope that all the big boxes in this complex close, and move to the proposed Walmart section on City Blvd. That way, it leaves room for the UCP to stick up for the area and not allow anymore stupid development to move in. If that side of the complex dies after Wally World moves, the new owners will surely (cough) revamp it to something more appropriate for that area.

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