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dubone

Cap over Belk Freeway (277)

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LOL, not fair, I'm at work and the video doesn't work..

In case I sound like an idiot, I'd like to point out that I'm a shy and quiet guy, and when cameras are shoved in my face I get nervous and cant make complete sentences :blush:

Edited by Mobuchu

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Don't worry, they didn't edit your words to make you sound like an idiot. You represented Urban Planet well, as you focused mainly on the city's mistakes :).

You're also on this newscast, too, and Uptown Magazine this month!? Are you running for mayor now that Patty McCheese is vying for Raleigh?

http://www.wsoctv.com/news/17193440/detail.html

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I gotta say; I really like the suspended circular pedway. I just think it's cool. Not fantastic for street interactivity, but certainly cool if it's all we could do to connect Uptown better.

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Not to be too negative on what is really just a concept, but the park version of the plan not only doesn't sell much land, but they also show an awful lot of stuff on land that is already sold or occupied. The circular ped bridge track concept is shown on land the city just sold. Then the land under the 'City Building' or whatever it is called on Morehead between Church and Tryon is shown as part of the park there.

I also must say that I really oppose the closure of Morehead at Mint as shown on the Boulevard Cap plan.

Still, those are details that almost always filter out after a pie-in-the-sky concept plan versus an actual plan to be built. The concepts both seem like great starts, with the Boulevard Plan seeming more practical as more land can be sold and developed for human use.

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hmm I am fascinated by the boulevard plan. I think the key to actually getting something like this out of the concept phase is a serious developer approaching the city with a plan, something like copley place in boston or maybe the time warner center in NYC to anchor down one of the parcels, followed with strict zoning restrictions for full street friendly retail... something that will generate tax $$ and high property values on that land opened up. If it takes Trump to do it, I would welcome him here.

It could be an awesome anchoring retail area for uptown finally, and if the brevard st plan holds together, we could end up with a nice pedestrian area sometime in the distant future...

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My guess is there will be some more hoopla about it, then the plans will again quietly disappear, and then someone else will draw up new plans to start it all over again in 2-3 years.

Those are pretty pictures above for sure. I am not convinced that developers will want to spend so much money near a freeway. It isn't exactly like we are out of land in Charlotte and without that pressure, they are pretty undesirable places to be near otherwise. Aside from the noise the pollution is not something that I can see someone wanting to take a casual stroll around.

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Mo is the man... lol...

The boulevard concept is incredible. I'm glad there are out of the box thinkers here and even if this all ends just a dream, at least we have proven that there are people brave enough to dream big...

I like the blvd concept better than the park because it doesn't seem as logical to have a 150 million dollar park when there are cheaper parks being built elsewhere in uptown. The blvd concept allows connectivity of slow moving vehicle traffic, mass transit, biking lanes, and pedestrian completing the goal of this project after all which is the overcoming the physical and psychological barriers of 277. The Blvd also allows the completion of towers to be built. This whole area would become a signature for the city, and you add that on with the whole arts campus... well we'd be looking at a whole new Charlotte.

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I have to be honest, I don't see why everyone is gushing over the boulevard plan. How would some of the parcels not be developed in the park plan, while all being developed in the boulevard plan? I think it's much more important to have a sizable green rather than another street.

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I'll just say that I'm not particularly fond of either plan, but I prefer the park cap (Concept B) over the other one.

The boulevard concept (Concept A) is highly impractical, not to mention expensive. The concept seems straightforward, but you have to recognize the difficulties in changing interstate collector/distributor ramps to city streets. Right now they process traffic pretty well, but what happens when you throw stop lights on to those things? It will be very difficult to move traffic. They make is sound as though it can be a beautiful pedestrian scale boulevard, but if you look at the Brookshire, which effectively has this set up, 11th and 12th streets both have 3-4 lanes in each direction, and neither of them are even remotely pedestrian scale since NCDOT is involved. Can you imagine 6 lanes of traffic (possibly 8 if you include turn lanes) being a beautiful pedestrian corridor?

The park cap plan (Concept B) seems more realistic and practical. Most of the $150 million cost of that is the small cap that they are still proposing. So if you remove that cost (in the near term) it can be built for probably $25-30 million. It would preserve the current configuration of the freeway, which would make it easier to deal with NCDOT, and it would still provide greater connectivity across 277. I admit that I don't care for the circular bridges part of the concept, but I would like to see more pedestrian connections to SouthEnd and this seems like the more cost effective option to make that happen. Changing the current berms into a park-like connection makes more sense because it would complete 3/4 sides of the ring of greenways around uptown (the other two being Little Sugar Creek Greenway and Irwin Creek Greenway).

Lets all remember that this planning process was an unsolicited, pro-bono effort by the HNTB Institute. They only had 4 days to actually do the work. A true planning process for something this scale would take more time and involve more public input and take more time to fine-tune the financial aspects of it. Its certainly fun to see this type of visioning process though.

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Can you imagine 6 lanes of traffic (possibly 8 if you include turn lanes) being a beautiful pedestrian corridor?

The Champs-Elysees seems to get by.

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Those are pretty pictures above for sure. I am not convinced that developers will want to spend so much money near a freeway. It isn't exactly like we are out of land in Charlotte and without that pressure, they are pretty undesirable places to be near otherwise. Aside from the noise the pollution is not something that I can see someone wanting to take a casual stroll around.

Royal Court seems to be fine with it.

Also, wouldn't that really be the point of the cap? To cover up the freeway would be to help reduce its effects on neighboring properties and increase connectivity in uptown. I agree that we are not out of land so creating new property is not a pressing need, but the point of this idea is not to create new property, it is to increase connectivity for pedestrians and uptown's road network. The excess property could have many uses but selling it off makes the most financial sense to help fund a project that wouldn't fly otherwise due to its price tag. With other property owners holding onto their lots for a rainy day down the road, this creates room for newer developers to come into Charlotte by having land on the market in uptown. Look how quickly the prominent lots that recently freed up were sold off (granted the less prominent addresses haven't sold yet, but will.)

I'm personally a fan of the boulevard idea, but only if they stuck to 4 lanes with turn lanes. Otherwise it begins to encroach on the whole pedestrian aspect. I like the idea of the park, but I don't like the park concept's design at all. It just doesn't flow and doesn't seem to give uptown a "huge" park either, at least on the cap. That and the pedestrian bridge concept seems a little silly to me. You're still walking over a freeway no matter how pretty the bridge is.

I do agree that this is just a passing idea, but an idea nonetheless. Charlotte needs this kind of thinking to start getting its citizens to become more involved in how the city turns out.

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I do agree that this is just a passing idea, but an idea nonetheless. Charlotte needs this kind of thinking to start getting its citizens to become more involved in how the city turns out.

True. And for showcasing uptown as the crown of the Queen City opposed to Ballantyne or Huntersville or wherever most new citizens move to. I will go on record to say that I don't see this project happening in the near future, but I do dream. I felt optimistic about 300 S. Tryon happening, and I feel like this project is about 10 times more unlikely to occur than 300 S Tryon. It will take a lot to go right for this to happen, but there is hope, and at least there are concepts and dreamers and all of this will add up to big things happening in the future with more future projects.

On a side note, has anyone thought that some of this push could be with the whole Trump affair, maybe louring him in. His land is prime location to all of these ideas after all, and the interstate was probally not the most inticing to him. Maybe he is interested in helping to fund this project, as well as Wachovia as a corporate sponsor. It certainly would add a ton of value to their properties. Just a thought.

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The Champs-Elysees seems to get by.

Do you really want to make the Charlotte vs Paris argument

I would rather see the $300 million cost of this project spent to implement the other concept and the Brevard Street plan.

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Do you really want to make the Charlotte vs Paris argument

I would rather see the $300 million cost of this project spent to implement the other concept and the Brevard Street plan.

I was just pointing out that wide multi-lane boulevards can be pedestrian friendly. It could have been any city.

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<br />I do not think the city has the money for a project this big untill it pays off some of its current debit.<br />
<br /><br /><br />

First things first. NCDOT cannot keep streetlights on 277. How will they light tunnels? Or will the QC's copper thief problem also be solved by the Cap?

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First things first. NCDOT cannot keep streetlights on 277. How will they light tunnels? Or will the QC's copper thief problem also be solved by the Cap?

Haha. A thief that is willing to go down into an interstate tunnel to steal copper deserves to get it. If he doesn't die trying. :shok:

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These days, you replace a freeway with a boulevard, not cap it with one. Personally, I'd do a hybrid of the plans for a development cap between Church and College either side of Tryon, but with a much smaller street on top, and then let the rest of Belk go more green like the park-concept. Such hybrid would still sell off some ROW, create more development, yet not modify any of the highway ramps.

In all, I don't think either concept devised by the HNTB teams is too realistic. That's becausethe land east of Brevard is essentially sold as part of the Caldwell/South interchange rebuild. And in the boulevard-concept, I'm sure DCDA would declare war if you made Euclid a major interchange instead of South Boulevard. Just getting Dilworth to accept a Euclid-Davidson bridge will be a hurdle, well fought IMHO for connectivity, but add ramps?!

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These days, you replace a freeway with a boulevard, not cap it with one. Personally, I'd do a hybrid of the plans for a development cap between Church and College either side of Tryon, but with a much smaller street on top, and then let the rest of Belk go more green like the park-concept. Such hybrid would still sell off some ROW, create more development, yet not modify any of the highway ramps.

In all, I don't think either concept devised by the HNTB teams is too realistic. That's becausethe land east of Brevard is essentially sold as part of the Caldwell/South interchange rebuild. And in the boulevard-concept, I'm sure DCDA would declare war if you made Euclid a major interchange instead of South Boulevard. Just getting Dilworth to accept a Euclid-Davidson bridge will be a hurdle, well fought IMHO for connectivity, but add ramps?!

None of the concepts were made with as final concepts, they were just created to help jump start the design process and help put visuals in the public's mind to help acquire feedback. They were drawn up in a matter of a week from one companies perspective and I don't think they acknowledged all current conditions and demands, but were set to put down an under layer to be built upon and changed. Now that they are out there, we can all visualize concepts, give feedback as we are doing, and see how we can perfect a plan at a feasible net overall cost (that is the final cost put by taxpayers or the city or whomever after land is sold off and other parties provide dedicated funds) that solves problems that exist in the first place- that is the physical and mental barrier that 277 provides killing off accessibility from the streetgrid, bicycling, and pedestrians, as well as the isolation in endures due 277 acting as a barrier. Both initial plans solve the problems to its ability and both provide some "icing on the cake", which is what is almost expected after undertaking such a masive plan.

^ I do like the idea of the hybrid, providing a smaller Blvd and more park land, but still creating land for development. The thing that the Blvd plan did allow, though, was it covered the footprint of the interstate so that any development would be built on solid foundations instead of requiring add'l restructuring to be capable of supporting development on top of a cap. I wonder if there is enough room to allow 2 parallel city streets instead of one Blvd on the cap. In the center could be park land and even low rise shops, and then on the outsides of both streets would meet the solidified land that development can be built upon, allowing highrises.

Edited by Andyc545

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.....that solves problems that exist in the first place- that is the physical and mental barrier that 277 provides killing off accessibility from the streetgrid, bicycling, and pedestrians, as well as the isolation in endures due 277 acting as a barrier. Both initial plans solve the problems to its ability and both provide some "icing on the cake", which is what is almost expected after undertaking such a masive plan......

Ahh but that presumes there really is a problem to solve here. We have been told the billions already being spent in downtown Charlotte, and much of it taxpayer funded, are justified so downtown becomes a "real city". A world class city. Now you are saying that because of this section of the John Belk freeway, downtown is "isolated" and also presumably because of that, it can't really achieve this goal. In other words, downtown Charlotte is still a failure. But what about all the billions already spent?

I am sure this will be the kind of argument that will be made in case these plans are actually seriously considered. The same has been said about every other "world class" attraction that has been presented for the tax payers to fund. And I am sure that if the taxpayers in this town were asked if they wanted to build a $300M cap over the freeway, they would say no. But since the arena vote, the "city leaders" have been very careful to keep these kinds of decisions out of the public's hands. So this would never come up for a vote.

If this were really the issue facing the city then I would expect to see some counter plans that would investigate the capping and or removal of other sections of I-277. But of course the powers in control in Charlotte don't live on North Tryon, so we will never go there.

I wonder who paid for the above renderings?

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^^^ HNTB did.

Are you saying 277 is not a problem now? He said its a physical and mental barrier which it is, that has nothing to do with becoming a world class city. This will provide a return in $$, land value, livability, connections, park space, etc, etc, etc.

Edited by Mobuchu

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I think that although the cap should be eventually done, its premature to think its needed now. There is plenty of undeveloped land uptown. If connectivity is the issue then why not just build a an architecurally interesting pedestrian bridge for $20-30 million and be done with it. I'm sure it would be much more of an attraction if they built a bridge similar to the Millenium bridge in front of Tate Modern art museum in London. Or in 20 years when development in Southend has really filled in the area along Morehead street, and IF Ghazi or Trump has built their development, cap a portion not served by the new bridge. This kind of money ($300 mill) needs to be going towards a new central library or streetcars, not something that has a dubious benefit at this point.

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