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Cap over Belk Freeway (277)

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For those who rationalize removing Belk or Brookshire (since they arguably duplicate Independence's linkage to I-77), I definitely see the logic. But the interchange of 277 with Independence sits in the exact path of a reactivated greenway. Plus, removing one or the other benefits only Optimist Park/Belmont or Elizabeth/Dilworth. And even though Brookshire may be more direct, Belk is newer and concrete, including recent ramp improvements at Caldwell/South and Kenilworth.

Hence, I don't think the solution is removing the northern or southern section of I-277. Rather, I'm curious about the concept of removing the eastern half.

Here are the elements of my "erase eastern half" scenario:

1) Brookshire reduced to the 11th and 12th couplet east of Church Street

2) Independence ending at a combination of Charlottetowne (outer two lanes drop) and 5th and 6th (final two lanes drop)

3) Belk ending at a combination of Caldwell/South (two lanes drop) and Stonewall/Kenilworth (final two lanes drop), the latter section of Belk east of Caldwell/South transitioning to an at-grade boulevard by the time you reach McDowell or Kenilworth

Scaling back Brookshire allows Optimist Park and Belmont to re-connect with Uptown.

Scaling back Independence allows the Little Sugar Creek Greenway to be built on today's Belk to Brookshire path beneath all the flyovers.

Scaling back Belk allows Elizabeth and Dilworth to re-connect with Uptown.

Rather than choose re-connecting either Optimist Park/Belmont or Elizabeth/Dilworth by removing either the Brookshire or the Belk, you could re-connect both sides of the ring, plus you enable a continuous and hopefully Riverwalk-like expanded Little Sugar Creek greenway on the full eastern edge of Uptown by reducing the spaghetti ramps at Independence and 277.

However, to serve the distribution of trips going to and from Uptown, you still retain Belk and Brookshire roughly to Tryon on both the north (keep Graham and Church exits) and south (keep Carson, College, and Caldwell/South exits). Granted, through-traffic from US 74 to I-77 would then move to at-grade on Charlottetowne between Independence and Kenilworth. But I think that could be a fair trade-off for re-connecting multiple neighborhoods with Uptown and actually creating a waterfront for Center City.

Edited by southslider

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I've always thought about this during this discussion on UP, but haven't mentioned it until now. Does anyone think that uptown Charlotte may lack the density that it has if we didn't have 277 restricting it? Not that I like 277 creating all the discontinuity with neighboring 'hoods, but it seems to me like it could be the reason that uptown is as dense as it is. I'm not saying that uptown couldn't be more dense by all means, but without those boundaries, could we have seen a much different downtown where more buildings were built outside of where the current loop is instead of inside of the loop, if it weren't there? I don't think there would be more development, but perhaps more spread-out development, creating a lower density for the uptown area and probably making Charlotte feel like a smaller city than it does today. Or would it have been a case when buildings weren't torn down to make way for newer ones, because "uptown" wasn't limited to such a small area? If there was more "prime" real estate because uptown wasn't limited by 277, would the older buildings have been left alone and newer ones been built on different ground that was clear? Just a thought...

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I've always thought about this during this discussion on UP, but haven't mentioned it until now. Does anyone think that uptown Charlotte may lack the density that it has if we didn't have 277 restricting it? Not that I like 277 creating all the discontinuity with neighboring 'hoods, but it seems to me like it could be the reason that uptown is as dense as it is. I'm not saying that uptown couldn't be more dense by all means, but without those boundaries, could we have seen a much different downtown where more buildings were built outside of where the current loop is instead of inside of the loop, if it weren't there? I don't think there would be more development, but perhaps more spread-out development, creating a lower density for the uptown area and probably making Charlotte feel like a smaller city than it does today. Or would it have been a case when buildings weren't torn down to make way for newer ones, because "uptown" wasn't limited to such a small area? If there was more "prime" real estate because uptown wasn't limited by 277, would the older buildings have been left alone and newer ones been built on different ground that was clear? Just a thought...

I'm not even sure if a connection could be made concerning the building of 277 and uptown's density (or lack thereof) outside of old Brooklyn being razed. I think those old buildings would have been razed either way to make way for newer buildings or surface parking lots.

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I've always thought about this during this discussion on UP, but haven't mentioned it until now. Does anyone think that uptown Charlotte may lack the density that it has if we didn't have 277 restricting it? Not that I like 277 creating all the discontinuity with neighboring 'hoods, but it seems to me like it could be the reason that uptown is as dense as it is. I'm not saying that uptown couldn't be more dense by all means, but without those boundaries, could we have seen a much different downtown where more buildings were built outside of where the current loop is instead of inside of the loop, if it weren't there? I don't think there would be more development, but perhaps more spread-out development, creating a lower density for the uptown area and probably making Charlotte feel like a smaller city than it does today. Or would it have been a case when buildings weren't torn down to make way for newer ones, because "uptown" wasn't limited to such a small area? If there was more "prime" real estate because uptown wasn't limited by 277, would the older buildings have been left alone and newer ones been built on different ground that was clear? Just a thought...

Yes, I've thought that many times, but never really brought it up here, either. I know there is a downside to 277, but I've always felt that an upside is the tendency to constrain development inside the loop. Downtown Atlanta is not constrained in any way, it's just all spread out along the downtown connector.

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Somehow Raleigh manages to have a growing downtown without any direct freeway access.

Raleigh has arguably the weakest corporate presence of any downtown (for a city Raleigh's size). If Raleigh is your example of "success", I would much rather see Charlotte "fail". The lack of a direct freeway is one of the reasons why Downtown Raleigh struggles at landing corporations. The North Hills area of the city (I-440 and Six Forks Road) gets the majority of new corporate investment.

When it comes to population and business growth, Charlotte's uptown is by far the state's fastest growing. Uptown also has the most freeway exits of any downtown in this state. Coincidence? I think not!

Let's not forget that I-26 dumps you off in the middle of downtown Charleston, South Carolina. And we all know what their downtown area looks and feel like.

As for Louisville, they are not foolish enough to get rid of their central freeway. They are just getting rid of its MANY ramps (as of now it looks like a bowl of pasta).

As for San Fran, Charlotte can do the same thing when we have a rail system like BART and a density of nearly 20,000 people per sq/mi. The reality is that Charlotte still has very low density. Low density areas need roads. Like I said before. When there are 100,000 or more people living inside of I-277, we can then either bury it or remove it. Right now, Charlotte is not at that level. Removing a freeway now will make uptown less attractive to new businesses. Development follows freeway exits. I can not understand why anyone would want to take this asset away from uptown. Cap the southside of the freeway and be done with it. Remove the freeway when Charlotte has real "big city" density. It is just that simple.

Does anyone think that uptown Charlotte may lack the density that it has if we didn't have 277 restricting it?

Great question and an even better post.

To answer your question, just take a drive down I-40 from Asheville to Wilmington. Notice the look and feel of the cities with downtown freeways vs. the cities without them. The answer to your question is in your own state.

Edited by urban980

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Coincidence? I think not!

Well, I think SO. Your post is basically one huge logical fallacy in which you confuse a "coincidental" relationship with a "cause and effect" relationship.

Can you conclusively say that downtown Durham is "better/livelier/more active/has a bigger corporate presence" than Greensboro for example? I certainly can't. As a matter of fact I'd say the downtowns are pretty similar.

I can see why you say Raleigh has arguably a very weak corporate presence downtown, because there are many who would would argue with your statement. There are major offices for BB&T and Wachovia, as well as the headquarters for RBC Centura and Progress Energy. As far as I know, that's more major downtown headquarters than any other city in the state besides Charlotte. Downtown Raleigh also has more square feet of office space and higher employment numbers than any other city in NC besides Charlotte. You say that North Hills is attracting all the office growth, and sure there's an office tower going up there, but as I recall there is a whole bunch of office development in South Park in Charlotte as well.

Your point about I-26 dumping off in the middle of Charleston is by far the most ridiculous. Charleston was by far the largest city in the South for a very long time and has a very large historic downtown. Charleston's history is what makes its downtown nice, not the freaking interstate. Get it straight.

The reason Charlotte has such a large corporate presence has much less to do with the fact that it's ringed by the noose of I-277, and much more to do with the fact that it's the largest city in the state.

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What about turning it into a boulevard with intersections instead of so many ramps? Then you can add pedestrian & bicycle paths alongside it on what is now the shoulder/right of way and make the area more livable.

Edited by InitialD

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I-277 does not limit growth of uptown Charlotte. I-277 should be viewed as a valued asset. The majority of the people in uptown....most likely does not live there. I-277 provides a means for traffic to be distributed to, routed around, and provides access to 270 degrees of uptown. There is opportunity to cap I-277 along the southside of Uptown...but to truly remove it. I dunno. San Francisco removed CA 480 (the Embarcadero Freeway) was a totally different situation. Freeway revolts prevented the Embarcadero Frwy from being completed and truly fulfilling the role that it was intended to. It's kinda like having I-277 run from [email protected] and ending at South Blvd.

In order for Charlotte to have density of San Franc....it would need to have a population of a million and then some. San Fran is sitting on less than 70 square miles. Charlotte is 242 square miles. Zoning can control provide direction for growth....and increase density. San Fran has taken advantage of it's density with BART and the MUNI. With continual vision and direction from local officials, Charlotte can compliment it's underfunded freeway system with a excellent mass transit system.

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Your point about I-26 dumping off in the middle of Charleston is by far the most ridiculous. Charleston was by far the largest city in the South for a very long time and has a very large historic downtown. Charleston's history is what makes its downtown nice, not the freaking interstate. Get it straight.

You are correct about Charleston, however I never said the freeway was the cause. The freeway IS an asset. Have you ever driven into Downtown Charleston via US 52? Did you notice all of the traffic lights and urban blight north of Downtown Charleston? I most certainly did.

I-26 bring visitors into downtown very quickly. This is what people want. A fast road in and out. I-26 also serves as a major evacuation route during a hurricane threat. The inbound lanes of the freeway are sometimes converted to outbound lanes in a weather emergency. Charleston's downtown freeway is more vital to sustaining downtown than I-277 is to sustaining uptown Charlotte.

The reason Charlotte has such a large corporate presence has much less to do with the fact that it's ringed by the noose of I-277, and much more to do with the fact that it's the largest city in the state.

So you are saying that Charlotte's corporate presence is the "effect" and Charlotte's size is the "cause". Most folks would argue that the corporate presence in Charlotte is the "cause" and Charlotte becoming the state's largest city is the "effect".

My question to you is what caused the "cause". The answer is infrastructure, elected officials, and the free market in which we live. Do you not agree with this?

Edited by urban980

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I-26 bring visitors into downtown very quickly. This is what people want. A fast road in and out. I-26 also serves as a major evacuation route during a hurricane threat. The inbound lanes of the freeway are sometimes converted to outbound lanes in a weather emergency. Charleston's downtown freeway is more vital to sustaining downtown than I-277 is to sustaining uptown Charlotte.

I-26 in Charleston plays a similar role to I-77 in Charlotte. I would agree that removing I-77 is a mistake, I'm not questioning the value of I-77. But removing I-277 is another matter entirely, If it were gone, you could still get downtown without having to drive for miles down North Tryon.

I-277 doesn't bypass miles of blight. Its positive benefits are that it cuts the amount of city driving that downtown workers must do, from 7 or 8 blocks, to 3 or 4 blocks, and that it lets people from Independence Blvd get to I-77 without driving on city streets. But does it need to be a LOOP to acheive that? Is that worth the enormous amount of land that it occupies, and the tremendous barrier that it creates to neighborhoods outside of uptown? At the very least, I hope you see that it's debatable.

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So you are saying that Charlotte's corporate presence is the "effect" and Charlotte's size is the "cause". Most folks would argue that the corporate presence in Charlotte is the "cause" and Charlotte becoming the state's largest city is the "effect".

My question to you is what caused the "cause". The answer is infrastructure, elected officials, and the free market in which we live. Do you not agree with this?

I would say that there is no simple cause and effect relationship between population and corporate presence. They are deeply and inextricably interdependent.

In addition, an undeniably huge factor in Charlotte's growth is simply its location: in the sunbelt.

Also, a big part of what caused Charlotte's corporate presence is the fact that NC deregulated banks and allowed large-scale mergers sooner than the rest of the country.

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I-277 doesn't bypass miles of blight. Its positive benefits are that it cuts the amount of city driving that downtown workers must do, from 7 or 8 blocks, to 3 or 4 blocks, and that it lets people from Independence Blvd get to I-77 without driving on city streets. But does it need to be a LOOP to acheive that? Is that worth the enormous amount of land that it occupies, and the tremendous barrier that it creates to neighborhoods outside of uptown? At the very least, I hope you see that it's debatable.

I understand your point. However, one of the biggest restraints of engineering is cost effectiveness. Is it more cost effective to cap a portion of the freeway, or remove a portion? I think the engineers have spoken with their CAP plan. It is the most logical solution.

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I wonder if the idea of fencing off uptown from the perceived "undesirable neighborhoods" was any factor in the decision to create I-277?

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Hey everyone...first time poster. I have been reading this forum and could not pass up the opportunity to share my two cents.

I think removing I-277 is a bad idea for several reasons.

1. I-277 is completely concurrent with other major highways meaning that there is no single portion of the freeway that is independent of other roads. US-74 comes in at the northeastern corner of the loop and runs to the south; NC-16 comes in at the southeastern corner and runs north. I-277 is just the name given to the loop as a whole, and there are no points anywhere along the route where I-277 is a stand-alone freeway. It's either I-277/US-74 (John Belk), I-277/NC-16 (Brookshire), or I-277/US-74/NC-16 (where all three are overlapped on the eastern portion of the beltway). As such, a complete annihilation of the freeway would mean that a 2-3 mile section of US-74 would be completely gone as well as a 2-3 mile section of NC-16. Both roads are major thoroughfares in Charlotte and could not simply just be split for the sake of "urbanity."

Since complete removal of the freeway is almost impossible (unless you relocate NC-16 and US-74) one might think that turning the freeway into a boulevard would be the solution. There are, however, two problems with turning the freeway into a boulevard. One is that Charlotte is consistently below standards when it comes to EPA measurements of air quality. In fact there was recently in article in CBJ that alluded to the threat of having federal funding for roads withdrawn if Charlotte did not improve air quality in the next few years. The worst problem for air quality is stop-and-go traffic. Vehicles are much less fuel efficient in stop-and-go traffic than freeway traffic and more gas burned equals more smog. The second problem is traffic congestion. I know some people say that the grid in downtown Charlotte could move a high volume of traffic as efficiently as a freeway however that is simply not the case. That assumption only takes into account the sheer number of streets moving north/south and east/west. It does not take into account the 20-35 mph speed zones nor does it take into account traffic lights at nearly every intersection. Turning the freeway into a boulevard would be a traffic nightmare.

3. The third problem I see is cost. Some portions of the John Belk freeway look almost as if they are in a large trench. Bringing it up to street level would require massive amounts of dirt. With the earth moving comes large costs. It would be fiscally irresponsible for the city take on such a monumental task while projects that need to be carried out such as completing I-485 and the 2030 CATS plan go underfunded/unfunded.

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Hey everyone...first time poster. I have been reading this forum and could not pass up the opportunity to share my two cents.

I think removing I-277 is a bad idea for several reasons:

Interstate 277 is completely concurrent with other major highways meaning that there is no single portion of the freeway that is independent of other roads. US-74 comes in at the northeastern corner of the loop and runs to the south; NC-16 comes in at the southeastern corner and runs north. I-277 is just the name given to the loop as a whole, and there are no points anywhere along the route where I-277 is a stand-alone freeway. It's either I-277/US-74 (John Belk), I-277/NC-16 (Brookshire), or I-277/US-74/NC-16 (where all three are overlapped on the eastern portion of the beltway). As such, a complete annihilation of the freeway would mean that a 2-3 mile section of US-74 would be completely gone as well as a 2-3 mile section of NC-16. Both roads are major thoroughfares in Charlotte and could not simply just be split for the sake of "urbanity."

Since complete removal of the freeway is almost impossible (unless you relocate NC-16 and US-74) one might think that turning the freeway into a boulevard would be the solution. There are, however, two problems with turning the freeway into a boulevard. One is that Charlotte is consistently below standards when it comes to EPA measurements of air quality. In fact there was recently in article in CBJ that alluded to the threat of having federal funding for roads withdrawn if Charlotte did not improve air quality in the next few years. The worst problem for air quality is stop-and-go traffic. Vehicles are much less fuel efficient in stop-and-go traffic than freeway traffic (with he exception of rush hours) and more gas burned equals more smog. The second problem is traffic congestion. I know some people say that the grid in downtown Charlotte could move a high volume of traffic as efficiently as a freeway however that is simply not the case. That assumption only takes into account the sheer number of streets moving north/south and east/west. It does not take into account the 20-35 mph speed zones nor does it take into account traffic lights at nearly every intersection. Turning the freeway into a boulevard would be a traffic nightmare.

The third problem I see is cost. Some portions of the John Belk freeway look almost as if they are in a large trench. Bringing it up to street level would require massive amounts of dirt. With the earth moving comes large costs. It would be fiscally irresponsible for the city take on such a monumental task while projects that need to be carried out such as completing I-485 and the 2030 CATS plan go underfunded/unfunded.

Finally, the argument that I-277 is somehow a noose around Charlotte and is not allowing it to spread out is hard to believe. There is ample room for Charlotte to spread east and west within I-277/I-77 as well as north. If you look at photoshopped pictures of Charlottes skyline overlaid with artists conceptions of all the buildings that were planned before the economy collapsed (many of those projects have been canceled) you will realize that even with all the proposed development parts of downtown still had holes where there was virtually no major development. In fact, I would say that if every proposed project of the real estate boom had come to fruition including Trump Charlotte, 210 Trade, etc., the area inside I-277 would have been no more than 40% full with super- high density development such as skyscrapers. In fact, the only portion of high density development that even comes close to I-277 is on the southern edge of downtown. The simple solution to connecting Downtown and Southend (if you wish) is to cap the freeway. Although I have no cost estimate, I would bet that it would not cost as much as converting 277 into a boulevard, it would still keep traffic moving, and it would keep the regions air quality from getting worse.

Edited by cltbwimob

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My "erase eastern half" scenario would not necessarily require any new boulevards to be built. The main thing to be built would be an expanded Little Sugar Creek to give Uptown an actual waterfront that would catalyze development and link neighborhoods.

11th and 12th work as a paired couplet replacing Brookshire east of Church Street. Charlottetowne is the replacement between US 74 and Belk. And thanks to NCDOT building a landing-strip-sized off-ramp to Target, you could cheaply convert that into a two-way boulevard (though ideally rebuilt to be at-grade at McDowell).

The only parts of Belk and Brookshire I'm saying demolish are those in the direct path of changing Little Sugar Creek into a true waterfront for Uptown. Private sector could still build a development cap at South Tryon, since an "eastern half" scenario still retains a scaled-down Belk feeding exits on the south edge of Uptown.

It is a fact that the lowest volumes on I-277 are on the bridge going over Stonewall/Kenilworth. And as evidence that this section wouldn't be missed, this section has a future peak-hour Level of Service C in 2030!

Edited by southslider

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I would advocate removing the Brookshire from 77 to Independence, and capping over the Belk from Church to South Blvd or Davidson.

The reason I suggest removing the Brookshire instead of the Belk is that it's elevated and thus presents a more obtrusive barrier. The Belk can be capped, or built over with commercial development.

The one-way pair of 11th/12th should be able to absorb the traffic from the removal of the Brookshire with little trouble, especially if an extra lane is added if necessary. Time the stoplights so that traffic moves at a constant 35mph in both directions. Works great for Dawson/McDowell in Raleigh.

As for NC16? Simply sign that over 11th/12th. No big deal.

The biggest problem is that it will take decades for the scar to heal and for development to fill in the land left open by removing the Brookshire.

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I like the novelty of the idea of removing 277, but it isn't financially feasible or realistic.

Looking at uptown, here's my pragmatic approach to fixing issues.

First, it isn't so much that 277 is a "noose" around uptown, as much as a wall keeping out the surrounding neighborhoods. Better connectivity to uptown is important. This was a topic discussed at the Chamber's Inner City Visit. Specifically, the Trade St. bridge under I-77 as needing to be revamped to improve connectivity to uptown (use my photo of Pecan at Independence above as an example). This is something that John Lassiter said we need to work on. As he said, people traveling around uptown at night know you don't go where it is dark and you don't go under bridges. The need for lights and better pedestrian friendliness under the overpasses is a safety issue. (see my photo above of Pecan at Independence for how they should be done.

The underpasses that need to be fixed include Graham St., Church, College, Brevard, 10th, Elizabeth/Trade, 4th, 3rd, and McDowell. I think Mint and maybe Tryon have already been fixed, and maybe one or two others?

Another issue is fixing the bridges over 277. They need to provide for better pedestrian and bicycle access. Two people can hardly pass each other on College St. bridge without someone being in the road. The redesigned South Blvd bridge is a great example of what needs to be done. Other key bridges that this needs to be done to include 7th st, which I believe has a turn lane running down it (why do you need a turn lane in the middle of a bridge?). It is wide enough it can sacrifice a lane to pedestrian & bicycle usage. Another one is Davidson St. I think the Tryon St. bridge can sacrifice a lane as well, or a pedestrian bridge could be built. The cap would eventually take care of these issues on this side of 277, but the other issues I mention need to be taken care of as soon as possible.

Also, redesigning the few remaining cloverleafs on 277 would be great. Then Graham St. could connect to 11th St. Right now, 10th doesn't connect all the way to first ward either, and 9th St. has be cut off and turned into a wannabe cul-du-sac in the difficult-to-navigate 4th ward.

Edited by InitialD

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After giving it some thought, I am open to replacing the loop with a single west/east connector. However, the cost is still an issue. If we replaced the loop with a single connector road, how wide must that road be to handle the traffic of Brookshire and John Belk? I am starting to get visions of the I-85/I-75 "river" through downtown Atlanta. Do we want that? I certainly don't.

I think the EPA standards brought up by another poster is something we all have over looked. Removing a freeway (any freeway) and replacing it with city streets would make Charlotte's air worse. Most cars burn 30% to 50% less fuel on a freeway as opposed to a city street with stop lights and low speed limits.

Maybe we should start looking into a Boston styled "big dig"? If the NC turnpike authority takes over the burial of I-277, sold the new land created to the highest bidder, and made it a toll road, we could afford to do this.

The questions now are:

How much would Charlotte's "Big Dig" cost?

How much can we sell the new land for?

How much will the tolls have to be to make up the difference?

Maybe we should bury the LYNX while we are at it?

Edited by urban980

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^I disagree with the concept of the big dig. It's a huge expenditure that does nothing to address the issue of car dependency in cities. It's the same kind of idea as continuing to build endless numbers of parking decks in downtown because of the belief that nobody will go there if you make car travel inconvenient. For some reason Charlotteans, at least the ones who advocate this stuff, fail to see the the contradiction where the stated goal is to make Charlotte in a different direction from a city that is mostly 100% dependent upon the automobile. The reality is they say the words, but they don't really believe in it. Sure they will take federal and state money for transit projects, but it does nothing to change this fact. The failure of Lynx is a good example.

The tearing down of I-277 should not be done with the idea the road will be replaced elsewhere. The best the city can ever do at this point is to close one side of it and direct all traffic to the other side. If this idea were to become serious then from a practical standpoint it would have to be the Brookshire freeway that is removed. This is why you will never see this plan enacted here, because if it doesn't directly benefit the downtown and areas around South End, Dilworth, etc, it will never see the light of day.

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I previously shared my bias that removing only Belk or Brookshire still leaves much of Little Sugar Creek buried hidden, but I agree that such strategy would likely be an easier sell. So for a moment, let's think about the pros and cons of removing Belk or Brookshire.

Removing Brookshire Pros:

It's the older highway, indeed covered in asphalt, while Belk is concrete. Favoring Optimist Park and Belmont over Dilworth and Elizabeth appears more socially just. The loss of Brookshire ramps to Belk and Independence still may enable an improved Little Sugar Creek greenway under 7th Street, if you rebuild northbound Belk and the 5th Street on-ramp. Independence still has a quick connection to I-77.

Removing Brookshire Cons:

NC 16 is already an expressway west of I-77 (that's why my scenarios kept Brookshire to Graham and Church). And even if removed, the CSX line still would be a barrier. The real estate market on that side of Uptown is weaker, meaning a slower return in private investment.

Removing Belk Pros:

The real estate market is ripe along this edge of Uptown, providing quicker return. The portion of Little Sugar Creek closest to Metropolitan and Freedom Park could be expanded into a new water feature for Uptown. Brookshire (NC 16) west of I-77 retains its direct connection to Independence (US 74).

Removing Belk Cons:

Belk has more bridges and is newer, meaning a bigger waste in recent infrastructure. Dilworth once again gets special treatment.

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It's the same kind of idea as continuing to build endless numbers of parking decks in downtown because of the belief that nobody will go there if you make car travel inconvenient. For some reason Charlotteans, at least the ones who advocate this stuff, fail to see the the contradiction where the stated goal is to make Charlotte in a different direction from a city that is mostly 100% dependent upon the automobile. The reality is they say the words, but they don't really believe in it.

I am not concerned about the "car" traffic in and out of uptown. I have made it clear in a previous post that trucks (big rigs making deliveries like the one I drive) is my biggest concern. As uptown grows, so does freight deliveries and pickups in and out of uptown. Normal commuters have MANY non-vehicle options into central Charlotte. I myself NEVER drive into uptown for leisure. However, the freight haulers only have roads. It is a bad idea to put trucks onto central Charlotte's grid. I have driven big rigs on central Charlotte's grid. I assume not many of us on UP are local truckers (correct me if I am wrong).

Not too long ago, I helped a lost trucker get out of 4th ward because she lacked the experience to make the tight turns. Without a freeway, there will be many more big trucks on uptown streets (not able to make tight turns). Stonewall, 3rd, 11th, and just about every west/east street in uptown will have lots more trucks if we remove any portion of I-277. This is a fact.

I am all for urbanity, but building freeways to the burbs (I-485) and then taking a freeway away from the center of town (I-277) is just plain silly. People (urban lovers) poke fun at Atlanta's planning, but let's face it. Atlanta did what had to be done to compete with its suburbs. Do you guys really think Midtown, Buckhead, and Downtown Atlanta would be stronger if they did not have a freeway? Seriously!

Urban is one thing, but reality is another. There isn't a "NYC" in the South. Maybe if we had NYC density, things would be different. The fact is we don't. Removing a freeway from uptown (while building freeways in the burbs) will give developers a very clear message. Removing I-277 will be the death of uptown Charlotte (and the rebirth of places like Ballantyne).

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It is a bad idea to put trucks onto central Charlotte's grid.

But local truck traffic is already there, as it would be in any city. Neither a place like the Harris Teeter in Fourth Ward inside the 277-loop nor CMC outside it have direct ramp-access from 277 to their loading docks.

If it's a question of through-truck traffic, Independence Boulevard already has the lowest truck traffic of any of the radial expressways. Obviously, I-77 could continue to carry thorough truck traffic, and nearby I-85 as well. And development trends show industrial uses locating more along I-85 than I-77 or US-74 within Mecklenburg County.

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But local truck traffic is already there, as it would be in any city. Neither a place like the Harris Teeter in Fourth Ward inside the 277-loop nor CMC outside it have direct ramp-access from 277 to their loading docks.

If it's a question of through-truck traffic, Independence Boulevard already has the lowest truck traffic of any of the radial expressways. Obviously, I-77 could continue to carry thorough truck traffic, and nearby I-85 as well. And development trends show industrial uses locating more along I-85 than I-77 or US-74 within Mecklenburg County.

You underestimate what trucks carry. Here is a hint. We carry EVERYTHING LOL! As uptown adds restaurants, food distributors (big rigs) will make their rounds into uptown. I haul gasoline. I deliver to the Circle K in 4th Ward and the Petro Express on 3rd and Charlottetowne. Many truckers deliver to places like Subway, Quiznos, and Starbucks (uptown has tons of these). If you get rid of Brookshire, guys like me would be on Graham St. If you get rid of John Belk, guys like me would be on Stonewall. It is just that simple.

And don't even get me started on the number of moving trucks (people's furniture) in and out of uptown. Like I said, we haul EVERYTHING!

Edited by urban980

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^I'm glad Graham and Stonewall were mentioned. Because along with 11th/12th and McDowell, these arterials already form a loop, keeping a lot of truck traffic out of the heart of Uptown. This arterial loop could continue to serve a similar function if portions of I-277 were to be eliminated.

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