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I-485

I-485 Good for the City?   57 members have voted

  1. 1. Is I-485 good for the city?

    • No
      18
    • Yes
      39
  2. 2. Should the remaining portion be canceled?

    • No
      49
    • Yes
      8

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30 posts in this topic

I-485 is the large loop road, in terms of miles, being built by the NCDOT around the city of Charlotte. If it was uncoiled, it would reach from Charlotte almost to Winston-Salem. It was approved in the early 1980s and as it stands now may not be completed until some time after 2020. Hence it is a 40 year project.

The question, is this road good for the city? What would have happened if it had not been built? The only section that is left is is the portion between I-77N and I-85N and construction on that section is not slated to begin on 2013 or later. Should this section be canceled. Could they divert this money towards transit instead?

What do you think?

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I think the idea was a good one to give people an alternative to get around Charlotte without going into town but of course the problem happens when they let endless buildings and houses go up that create traffic that oherwise wouldnt be on the road.

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Hmmmm.....485 has its pro's & con's. In my opinion, I think every major city in the country needs an outerbelt freeway. But, construction on this project has been an unnecessarily drawn-out task & using the remaining funds for transit needs isn't a bad idea. However, the project is too far-gone for this to happen and the freeway needs to be completed.

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The section between 77 and 85 in the north is one of the most important. It shouldn't have been built last in the first place.

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If beltways around cities could be done without allowing development along them, then fine. But that's not the case....so they end up being little more than a tool for developers to cut down more trees and pave over more grass. The whole idea behind urban loops in the 50s and 60s was to divert traffic around the center of a city and ease congestion. Then developers got into the mix and started putting shopping centers and office parks and cookie cutter neighborhoods at the interchanges......well, so much for reducing congestion. Urban loops basically ended up doing nothing but pulling development farther into the suburbs and draining the cities' downtowns. Then the developers started pressuring (and, of course, got) far more interchanges than were ever initially planned for these belt roads and the result is simply more congestion and more urban sprawl. I-485 is a prime example of this.

I remember a few years ago when one of the planners for Atlanta spoke here in Charlotte. He said that if he could give us one piece of advice that would help us avoid some of Atlanta's mistakes, it would be for us to stop construction of I-485 immediately and not lay one more foot of asphalt. Obviously that didn't happen.

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The city would probably be more congested without 485, and it would take me a lot longer to get to Greensboro.

However, I'm not the biggest fan of I-485. I think that from the beginning, Independence Blvd should have built as Interstate 74. Additionally, The Charlotte 4 loop should have been built as our city's beltline, (a la Raleigh's 440), and both 277 and 485 shouldn't have been planned.

Thats what I would have liked to have seen.

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The city would probably be more congested without 485, and it would take me a lot longer to get to Greensboro.

However, I'm not the biggest fan of I-485. I think that from the beginning, Independence Blvd should have built as Interstate 74. Additionally, The Charlotte 4 loop should have been built as our city's beltline, (a la Raleigh's 440), and both 277 and 485 shouldn't have been planned.

Thats what I would have liked to have seen.

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485 isn't good for urbanization, but it is good for the city. The fact is, 90%+ of the 50k people per year moving to this region are looking for the suburban life, and 485 provides the stereotype model for suburban development to come. Most development and economic development follow set patterns that have gone on in dozens of other cities around the country in the last half century. Billions of dollars instantly open up from banks and home offices of retailers and tract developers. That is how this city continues to grow so fast, as money just appears for all the builders in proximity to this freeway. They don't have trouble finding buyers, either, as the people moving here understand the economics of these loop freeways and consider their houses a good investment. The prophesy fulfills itself.

Charlotte will need to continue investing as much as it can in the infrastructure of the central city to continue to attract and keep people, and avoid the doughnut effect of sprawl around a dead or empty center. Suburbs are placeless without an urban center to create the gravity and shared experience.

The loop will be good for bypass drivers, though, and avoiding freeway gridlock in the central city is good for the city as a whole. I'd like to see them put billboards up that say that 485 will not be widened for 25+ years regardless of how busy it gets, so people can factor that into their notions. I think people often think that they can plan to drive their long commutes on freeways and that the government will simply widen it right away when the traffic comes. But now all urban freeways in the country are congested, so there is no money for endless widenings.

The planning departments should also make their permanent plans for the 485 neighborhoods around the 4 lane freeway capacity and not do what Pineville did and zone without any regard for capacity.

Given that Harris Blvd is a clusterfeck, I don't think it would be wise to cancel the northern portion. While I do think it should be widened in Ballantyne, I do think it would be a little funny to leave those drivers with their just-desserts.

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Personally, I think I-485 is essential to the growth of Charlotte and traffic management in the area. I couldn't imagine having to drive thru downtown Charlotte during rush hour without I-485. I use it frequently travelling thru the area with work. The only drawback is the sprawl development that is following the interstate.

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Without I485 now Independence Blvd. would be a large parking lot.

I see not as many trucks now Independence Blvd. on than before I485 was built.

If Independence Blvd. was a 8 lane freeway, then maybe we could get by without I485.

But to get from east Charlotte to Pineville by Hwy 51, it would have to be a freeway. Before I485 it had a lot more traffic and by now it would be gridlock.

The trouble with I485 is that the cities around it can not say no for all the development around it. I485 will serve Charlotte ok, but as long as you have 90,000 people a year moving here, where are you going to put them?

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Charlotte has very poor east-to-west circulation. So I see the southern side of 485 and being very helpful, to reduce pressure on 51 and Fairview/Tyvola. I can understand why it was built first.

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I'd like to see them put billboards up that say that 485 will not be widened for 25+ years regardless of how busy it gets, so people can factor that into their notions.

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:) Well, then how about official freeway signs indicating the realistic plans for widening. I think that information is often completely lost on regular folks, who assume that if there is some traffic that the government will plan to widen it right away.

It seems to be valuable public information that should be put out there somehow.

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:) Well, then how about official freeway signs indicating the realistic plans for widening. I think that information is often completely lost of regular folks, who assume that if there is some traffic that the government will plan to widen it right away.

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Based on what we know now, 485 should be done by 2016 with the last leg being west of and including the interchange at I-85 in University City.

I think some of the comments are on target. Roads aren't built in a vaccum. They bring development (unless local land use is VERY strictly controlled--which it almost never is), and that is part of the problem. Look at 485 in south Charlotte/Pineville. It's a total mess, and perhaps it should have been built with 6 lanes, but the kind of development that area has seen was not anticipated when it was planned.

Given that it's built and there's no turning back, it probably makes sense to continue building it to it's completion. City Council and County Commissioners need to have some backbone and stop allowing unchecked suburban sprawl to continue outside the loop. Of course I don't see that happening. Maybe the solution is to charge impact fees on developments in those "greenfield" developments for schools and roads.

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In Columbus, I-270 is built and is designated as an HC Bypass. Could this be added for I-485 once it is completed? It would keep any transporting of hazardous/chemical/nuclear material on the outskirts of Charlotte, and may also relieve some of the traffic within the loop as these materials are generally carried by semis, which tend to slow traffic due to their size and slow accelleration.

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Too bad we did not listen to the Atlanta warnings. The outer loop would have made a great greenbelt. If you make things convenient for people (driving long distances with minimal congestion), don't be surprised when folks start sprawling. Sitting in traffic and congestion is the best remedy for alternative transit and living near one's workplace. Too bad, though, the genie is out of the bottle. Every proto-typical "SalonSubwayNailshopPizzaCorporateCoffeeHouseChenBistroMobilePhoneHarrisTeet

er" developer in town is licking his chops to build the next "Birkdale" at each exit on the loop. Worshipping at the altar of "mixed use" will be the death of us...

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My dad has lived somewhat near the 51/485 since the early 80s. I remember going into the Kroger (now BiLo) at 51 and Park Road Extension during its grand opening. The other shopping centers in the area -- Carmel Crossings, the old K-Mart, McMillen Creek, the one with the gym and cafeteria -- made 51 a nightmare *before* 485 was built.

When Carolina Place came in, and 485 only went from South Blvd to 51, it was bad, but not the wreck it is now. Development along South Blvd. hasn't helped, let alone Ballentine, Piper Glen, Providence Road, etc.

485 was already drawing development to north of it on NC 16, cutting 16 south of 485 off from any redevlopment opportunity, though existing industrial probably didn't help.

It is sad that the east side of 485 through Mint Hill was built with six lanes even though development isn't as bad there (yet). The "we're going to have to do it sooner or later, so might as well do it now" mentality encourages even more sprawl because of the "increased traffic capacity" the area provides.

Why was there no good 77-85 connectivity already? Not as part of 485, but just in general? Local roads should not have to handle the burden of that traffic.

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I voted no and no. In essence, "loop roads" have been built to open up new areas for development under the guise of creating "shortcuts" for people traveling from one point to another. In this sense, conservatives argue that fixed mass transit is being built to benefit developers. The difference is that fixed transit serves areas already served by public services. Highways open up whole areas previously underserved by public services to development. That said, connecting 85 with 77 makes decent logistical sense and also serves an area planned for high-density, multi-modal, development.

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I see it as this, whats if I-85 or I-77 get shut down? you'd have the the busiest and third busiest streches of freeway having to move through the city somehow. I-77 won't be widened until im old, right now im an undergrad stsudent. At some point it will be alot faster using I-485 around the west side of Charlotte then I-77. I can envision traffic worst than the downtown connector in Atlanta on I-77 around 2025.

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One benefit that we have with 485 is that on the west and the north, the routes don't veer that far from the main roads, so they act as a very competitive bypass. Linear orientations are important for making the roads a bypass, and less of a sprawl-collector. 485 in the south and east are really barely useable as a bypass.

My hope is that they are building the western and northern 485 as 4 lanes or better so that they can be the primary route for people going between SC and Concord/85 N rather than 485 past Matthews.

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I live near Matthews and it easier to go to I85N or I77S now than before I485 was built.

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I live near Matthews and it easier to go to I85N or I77S now than before I485 was built.

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Charlotte has very poor east-to-west circulation. So I see the southern side of 485 and being very helpful, to reduce pressure on 51 and Fairview/Tyvola. I can understand why it was built first.

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I-485 would be much better if it weren't so cheap in construction. It isn't well lit, and isn't wide enough. 4 lanes each way would have made the Southern side a non-issue.

I don't use it nowadays, but when I used to live in South of the interstate, I used quite a bit and it served its purpose well.

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