dubone

Cap over Belk Freeway (277)

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^Here in Charlotte I still believe that is NCDOT or rather state property so they would have to be involved in such a decision.

My guess is there won't be any new structures built across this highway.

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Well, I think if they want to sell it for private development as opposed to a public park, that the value of that space will only become more valuable in the future, so I'm not sure the timing is as critical now, as if it were going to be a park.

That said, they do need to clearly define what the development envelope will be, so Ghazi and Trump and whoever else building adjacent to 277 can consider how their projects will relate to the "cap projects" once they are built.

Yeah, let me clarify...with the expected Trump and Ghazi projects we have an opportunity to tap into those huge projects as a way of offsetting some of the costs. I bet Trump would pay for a portion of the cap in exchange for air rights over the shoulders.

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it would seem to me you could parcel some of the cap (especially over the highway embankments) for private development - and the space between, could be utilized for park/public usuage. that's actually the impression i got from what is being reported? maybe i'm reading wrong?

while i do feel the city has inproportionately focused resources on this part of town (hey, eastside is over here!) - i'm all for the cap. connectivity, creates more tax base, possible public usuage and helps correct (a tiny bit) the problems of 2-77's conception.

for those of you who have been advocating for the removal of 2-77... this is good as it will get - @ least in the foreseeable future. it might be an expensive compromise - but, i think in the long run - it will serve the city very well.

As much as 277 is an unnecessary highway, I think we have 277 to thank for uptown going vertical the way it has/will. It's our manmade river making uptown an island. I assume without 277, we would have had more sprawl and less density in uptown.

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^Here in Charlotte I still believe that is NCDOT or rather state property so they would have to be involved in such a decision.

My guess is there won't be any new structures built across this highway.

Or the Federal Govt, if we could go back to the Nascar Hall of Fame proposal with reconfigured South Blvd/Caldwell interchange, the state at the last minute figured out that it didn't own the land around the interchange and the Federal Govt did.

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As much as 277 is an unnecessary highway, I think we have 277 to thank for uptown going vertical the way it has/will. It's our manmade river making uptown an island. I assume without 277, we would have had more sprawl and less density in uptown.

I think there is a lot of truth in our uptown being an "island". This has probably had more to do with our compactness and urban density than some would imagine.

I don't think I-277 should be abandoned, but a green space on a cap would be a welcome sight and could lead to more urban connectivity with Morehead, South Blvd., and Dilworth/SouthEnd.

A previous post alluded to the fact that if the cap were too large, it would be considered a tunnel. If that makes costs prohibitive, how about a series of caps, with small breaks?

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A series of tunnels can be very dangerous. Stopped traffic is more deceptive in the alternating light and dark.

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As much as 277 is an unnecessary highway, I think we have 277 to thank for uptown going vertical the way it has/will. It's our manmade river making uptown an island. I assume without 277, we would have had more sprawl and less density in uptown.

277 is definitely adds to the growth and development. It is constantly referred to, along with Route 4, and 485 as part of the city's growth rings.

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Charlotte's DOT is very much aware of the poor connectivity planning for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the freeway. While the freeway itself creates significant amount of car connectivity to other parts of the city, it does a bad job of getting people across it without their cars. Even where there are sidewalks, it really gives a feeling like you are exposed and somewhere you shouldn't be.

There is not a chance on earth that the freeways will be decommissioned and dismantled. The only chance to the ameliorate those problems is to fund these types of connections - as many as our society can afford. Both SouthEnd and Uptown pay significant amounts in taxes, as do many of the neighborhoods around downtown. There is plenty of justification to make these types of changes, especially since we are talking about a decade long plan.

The three plan elements (near-term restriping of bridges, mid-term pedestrian trail extension to College, and long-term cap) totalled around $75m total, some of which could be offset by developer partnerships. Over a ten year period, our society can very clearly afford that amount.

The main reason for this is to invest in an area that is planned and zoned for very high density development (there is UMUD zoning on both sides of the freeway in this area). This area needs investment because it needs to support the type of population that is planned for the area in the upcoming decade or two.

Charlotte DOT is leading the charge for this because the actively want to repair some of the damage that Belk freeway did to pedestrian traffic crossing it, leading to a higher efficiency and productivity for the whole transportation network. I really hope they move forward with this plan.

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Or the Federal Govt, if we could go back to the Nascar Hall of Fame proposal with reconfigured South Blvd/Caldwell interchange, the state at the last minute figured out that it didn't own the land around the interchange and the Federal Govt did.

Indeed. In NC state law, with very few specific exceptions, cities and counties do not own, operate or maintain highways. And as you note, when federal money was used to build a highway, then federal highway law comes into play as well. Both of the loop roads in CLT were built with federal funds so even they may have a say in such a project. My guess is the developers, especially one like Trump, wouldn't touch this with a 100 mile pole.

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Well someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the new parcels created from the reconfigure of South/Caldwell are going to be sold for development. The land along Morehead and Hill street is even less useful to the gov. then that along stonewall. If a retaining wall is built and the land sold, everyone benefits.

I'll also add that the cap in Columbus created a profit for everyone by adding all the retail.

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I-277 will not go away, as others have said. If you look at cities where this has occurred, mostly it is in an area with a very dense street network and a very healthy transit system. You can't just close down a major freeway that carries 70-80,000 cars a day without having a plan to deal with the resulting traffic. Besides, it's an interstate, and the state and federal govts would both have to agree to any plan.

Or the Federal Govt, if we could go back to the Nascar Hall of Fame proposal with reconfigured South Blvd/Caldwell interchange, the state at the last minute figured out that it didn't own the land around the interchange and the Federal Govt did.

Well someone correct me if I'm wrong, but the new parcels created from the reconfigure of South/Caldwell are going to be sold for development. The land along Morehead and Hill street is even less useful to the gov. then that along stonewall. If a retaining wall is built and the land sold, everyone benefits.

I'll also add that the cap in Columbus created a profit for everyone by adding all the retail.

If I'm not mistaken, the state acquired some of the land from the City of Charlotte in the 80s for the Belk Freeway, and in those areas, the state agreed to essentially deed it back to the city for free.

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There was an article on Saturday May 19 about the freeway cap and pedestrian connections between south end and uptown.

Fixes -- some quick, some not -- for I-277 gulch

Nothing really new here. The cap is once again under serious consideration, but probably far off in the future.

In the meantime, the city wants to narrow the lanes on Tryon and Church (12+ foot lanes are overkill uptown), add a bicycle lane, and widen the sidewalks to 8 feet. Sounds like a great idea, and cheap too.

I guess they're not planning on doing anything to College yet? I guess the cloverleaf might make that too difficult.

Another huge opportunity (not mentioned in the article) is of course the reconfiguration of the Caldwell-South Blvd bridge. That bridge is WIDE (about 120 feet) - which would mean enough space for 4 through lanes and 2 left-turn lanes, at 11 feet each; 5-foot bike lanes; 20-foot sidewalks; and a 4-foot median.

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There was an article on Saturday May 19 about the freeway cap and pedestrian connections between south end and uptown.

Fixes -- some quick, some not -- for I-277 gulch

Another huge opportunity (not mentioned in the article) is of course the reconfiguration of the Caldwell-South Blvd bridge. That bridge is WIDE (about 120 feet) - which would mean enough space for 4 through lanes and 2 left-turn lanes, at 11 feet each; 5-foot bike lanes; 20-foot sidewalks; and a 4-foot median.

The Caldwell bridge was covered in the meeting and briefly touched on in the article you linked to. Starting this summer they will be adding in sidewalks and bike lanes to the Caldwell bridge as part of the Caldwell reconfiguration in conjunction with the NASCAR HoF project. All of these improved pedestrian connections are a great thing and are long overdue.

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Oops, missed the quote about the Caldwell article, though they unfortunately don't provide have any specs for the reconfiguration. I hope they're not planning on dinky 6-foot sidewalks and 3-foot bike lanes. The Center City Transportation Study recommends that the segment of Caldwell over 277 be a "secondary pedestrian street" which is defined as "14-16 foot sidewalks." That would certainly be wide enough.

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I certainly hope they plan on going wider than 8-foot sidewalks on Tryon. I would think you could do without the bike lanes there, as the traffic shouldn't be moving too fast, and the bikers in uptown are already used to Tryon not having dedicated lanes. They need AT LEAST 12' sidwalks on Tryon, and even that is a bit tight, if they truly want people to cross the 277 divide.

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The center city transportation plan calls for 22'+ sidewalks on Tryon over the bridge, but since the bridge is only 70' wide, that's impossible without widening. If the Tryon bridge is redone to match the configuration through the center city, the turn lane will be removed, and the outside lanes will be 12' while the inside lanes will be 10'. That leaves 26 feet for sidewalks - 13 feet on each side.

8 foot sidewalks would mean adding either a 10' turn lane in the center, or 5' bike lanes on both sides.

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They plan a near term quick fix for Church, Tryon and College, which does include the 8' sidewalks, rather than the wider sidewalks the plans call for eventually. However, those wider sidewalks would be included in the plan they ALSO call for, which is to have a cap (park or development) in the longer term.

The recommendations from the study are to do BOTH the short term cheap fix and the more expensive longer term plan with the cap.

Tryon gets most of the attention, but they would do some slight sidewalk widening on College and Church by narrowing those travel lanes a bit, too.

I think 8' sidewalks are decent for a section that has no buildings along it, 22' sidewalks are more important when there is a dense building opening onto it, or between major pedestrian destinations where there would be bursts of pedestrians. 8' sidewalks are perfectly fine as an interim solution while a cap is pursued over the course of a decade. Note that is 8' sidewalks plus bike lanes, which does give some added comfort to pedestrians, over having cars right at the curb.

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I just heard on WBTV 11:00 news about a real plan for capping I-277 -- not just a plan that's a figment of our imagination. Supposedly the plan is supposed to be revealed on Thursday. The blurb on the news lasted all of 20 seconds, so not much to report other than that. Hopefully we'll see some drawings of the ideas that are being thrown around on Thursday, though.

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I heard about this one. The HNTB Institute is doing a charrette about 277. The cap is just one of the issues they are addressing. They are trying to find way to improve cross access over/under 277 by using better urban design. That translates to development along the freeway so that walking across it won't be such a daunting task.

Charmeck.org

CBJ

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Of course there is absolutely no way for Charlotte to pay for such a thing (and forget the state or federal funds being used for this) so it may remain nothing but a pipe dream. I would love to see something connecting uptown to southend get built, but I can't fathom a way for this to be done, particularly with current economic conditions.

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I don't recall where I was reading this (blog/O/CJB?), but Ghazi owns some adjacent land. Throw in some other power-developers (Trump, anyone), and I bet the money would become available.

Just sayin'...

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I just heard on WBTV 11:00 news about a real plan for capping I-277 -- not just a plan that's a figment of our imagination. Supposedly the plan is supposed to be revealed on Thursday. The blurb on the news lasted all of 20 seconds, so not much to report other than that. Hopefully we'll see some drawings of the ideas that are being thrown around on Thursday, though.

There was an article in the Charlotte Observer on Sunday reporting about city officials meeting to discuss the possibility of a Cap.

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Of course there is absolutely no way for Charlotte to pay for such a thing (and forget the state or federal funds being used for this) so it may remain nothing but a pipe dream. I would love to see something connecting uptown to southend get built, but I can't fathom a way for this to be done, particularly with current economic conditions.

Would the new tax revenue not help the project pay for itself? Clearly construction would be delayed by the economic climate, but it seems that this is an easy opportunity for the city to create the most tax-friendly property in the city out of thin air.

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Any estimates on a cost to cap it? The city did make / or is planning on making a significant amount of money that was more than estimated from the sales of the five 277 parcels. Seems like the two projects would go hand-in-hand. Also, if the city can acquire purchasers and investors, maybe they can utilize some of the capping / park land to sell to a developer to build a unique lowrise or project similar how Columbia did.

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^^^ Check out one page back to when the city held a public meeting on improving connections to southend. A cap between College and Church was estimated betweeen $25 - $45mil. Land being sold to developers where the current slope down to 277 is now would help pay for it.

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