underoak

Independence Corridor

266 posts in this topic

Hi all,

Members of the Eastside PAC are planning another rally along Independence Boulevard just east of the Wendover Road/Eastway Drive interchange on Thursday, April 9.

Details at Underoak

(Apologies if I didn't put this in the right place. Searched quickly for an "Independence" thread and couldn't find one. Please feel free to redirect me.)

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Just a big picture question.....is there a couter proposal for Independence? I read the agenda points, but what seems to be missing is how is Independence both a major arterial and a business corridor? Or maybe it shouldn't be a major arterial? I'm not sure I have an opinion yet, just asking....or perhaps a Texas-style freeway with divided higway lanes flanked by commercial streets.

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Good question. I haven't seen much about what the group is *for,* but rather what they're against.

I know they're *for* light rail, or they were when it sounded possibly feasible, but that idea seems to run counter to their fight against the new bigger setbacks.

I recently used a service road to great personal advantage along Chapel Hill's 15/501 corridor, and I'm familiar with how Atlanta used those access/service roads back in the day (and maybe as well these days). Not sure what urban planners think about those, but they seem to serve indviduals and businesses well.

Hoping the Eastside PAC will find and articulate a counter-proposal for what they're *for,* and not just what they're against. Maybe some planners could help. The Economic Development and Planning Committee seems to have community review scheduled for May and into the summer; here's hoping something good comes out of that effort.

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Maybe I've misunderstood something, but I'm pretty sure service roads are being proposed.

Eventually people are going to have to accept that this road is becoming an "interstate-like thing" that will eventually continue out into Union County. In order to remain viable, development facing the highway is going to have to be re-oriented over time to have its back towards the highway and its front towards the new service roads that are connected to the adjacent neighborhoods like you would find on any other interstate. Its ironic that when Independence was converted into an expressway through the Chantilly, Elizabeth, and Plaza-Midwood area, they actually did those neighborhoods a favor by razing all of the commercial development and preventing the commercial blight that we see in the vicinity of the Coliseum.

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Eventually people are going to have to accept that this road is becoming an "interstate-like thing" that will eventually continue out into Union County. In order to remain viable, development facing the highway is going to have to be re-oriented over time to have its back towards the highway and its front towards the new service roads that are connected to the adjacent neighborhoods like you would find on any other interstate.

That's exactly what John Lassiter said to residents at the rally Thursday night. And it makes sense. I think it's hard, though, for area residents to adjust. And area business owners and residents on the _next_ leg of road development worry they'll be left high and dry without a plan to support their businesses, or to buy them out. The planning document seems to indicate "business district" between Sharon Amity and Idlewild on the north side of the road. I'm thinking/guessing that nearby folks don't believe that business will be supported with access, because of what's happened between Eastway and Albemarle.

Its ironic that when Independence was converted into an expressway through the Chantilly, Elizabeth, and Plaza-Midwood area, they actually did those neighborhoods a favor by razing all of the commercial development and preventing the commercial blight that we see in the vicinity of the Coliseum.

They didn't exactly raze it all. In some cases, that was a good thing, and in other cases it was a bad thing that cost neighborhoods and the city greatly in the long run.

A place where it was good they didn't raze: The old mill buildings between Lamar and Pecan, behind the giant useless Family Dollar parking lot. We kept some history and provided a spot for small businesses. Win.

A place where it was bad they didn't raze: Hotel/motel/no-tells near Briar Creek. The city and the neighborhoods spent years and tons of money fighting the blight of a couple of hotels that went downhill, inviting in crime. Fail.

Update on the rally (with not-so-good pictures) at Underoak.

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I don't think I have seen a post on this yet, but Rose's is opening a store in the former Target location on Independence. For those that don't know, Rose's is kind of a small town Kmart that was on it's deathbed about 15 years ago. I thought Walmart finished it off,

but they have hung on and they're entering the Charlotte market.

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Wow...the last Rose's I remember was on Catawba Ave in Cornelius just west of I-77....I too thought they were toast.

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I don't think I have seen a post on this yet, but Rose's is opening a store in the former Target location on Independence. For those that don't know, Rose's is kind of a small town Kmart that was on it's deathbed about 15 years ago. I thought Walmart finished it off,

but they have hung on and they're entering the Charlotte market.

The former Target on Independence? The former Target on Independence is a BJ's now.

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The former Target on Independence? The former Target on Independence is a BJ's now.

That is correct, Roses is actually going into the old Sports Authority location.

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That is correct, Roses is actually going into the old Sports Authority location.

Ah that makes sense thanks. Well I think it's a good thing for Independence Boulevard, and is a great complement to Compare Foods in that same shopping center [independence Square].

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Except Compare Foods, along with McDonald's and Wachovia, will be torn down for the ramps serving a new Idlewild interchange. Hopefully, Roses can survive as the only anchor and right-turn-only access. Better yet, maybe the whole shopping center, plus the Castlewood (or Silver Oak?) apartments could be redeveloped in a mixed-use town center, ultimately located someday at the Conference Drive station.

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Except Compare Foods, along with McDonald's and Wachovia, will be torn down for the ramps serving a new Idlewild interchange.

Is this confirmed? Any idea of a timeframe?

I live off Margaret Wallace so this stretch of Independence is my main route into the city.

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Wow...the last Rose's I remember was on Catawba Ave in Cornelius just west of I-77....I too thought they were toast.

Indeed. I believe that was the last one in Mecklenburg County. There is a Stein Mart in that location now.

---------------

It really isn't Rose's Stores as that company is gone. (It did die in 1997) It's a company call Variety Wholesalers that bought up a number of "brands" as they went bankrupt then will open one of their stores under the appropriate name. Roses is one of their branding concepts now. It is sort of the same idea of buying a Magtag or a Kitchenaid, and then, looking under the covers, you find out it's nothing more than a Whirlpool POS. Not saying that VW is bad though.

Despite that, it's still good I they are willing to invest in that part of town. I too believe the misguided plan to convert Independence to an express way is not only responsible for much of the urban decay in East Charlotte, but it had really negative effects on Elizabeth, Chantilly, Plaza/Midwood, etc. IMO they should have left it as a city street.

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It really isn't Rose's Stores as that company is gone. (It did die in 1997) It's a company call Variety Wholesalers that bought up a number of "brands" as they went bankrupt then will open one of their stores under the appropriate name. Roses is one of their branding concepts now.... Not saying that VW is bad though.

Sorry to stray :offtopic: but I disagree that Variety Wholesalers isn't bad -- its the business end of Art Pope's anti-urban machine, the John Locke Society and all its various appendages. I guess its appropriate that they are expanding on Independence.

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Whatever the corporate name is, there is and has been a Rose's store at Abbey Plaza in Belmont. Take the first exit on I-85 after crossing the Catawba into Gaston County. Go left at the light at the end of the exit ramp. Rose's is less than 1/4 mile on the right.

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I too believe the misguided plan to convert Independence to an express way is not only responsible for much of the urban decay in East Charlotte, but it had really negative effects on Elizabeth, Chantilly, Plaza/Midwood, etc. IMO they should have left it as a city street.

Agreed. Nobody wants to live on or invest in an area when the future of its transportation is so cloudy.

Though I also think/wish that people should/would go ahead and accept what this is going to be. [edit: My post isn't directed towards you, monsoon, your post just got me thinking about the matter]. The transition to freeway is unbearably slow and painful, but it could be quicker if plans could be adopted that allowed future investors to ignore independence altogether and utilize other streets, like you would for any other interstate.

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I agree that it seems there was not much thought given to what happens to the adjacent land as this road converts to freeway. I will say there are plans in place for the areas between Sharon Amity and Briarcreek that will help this area tremendously. The plan as shown furthure out will need the same planning or the blight will repeat itself.

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Part of the probably is that developers dont learn from their past mistakes. Take the proposed Wal Mart at the former Amity Gardens shopping center. The last site plan I saw a few months ago showed the building occupying almost the exact footprint of the main building in the center. Parking is surface and out front along Independence. Seriously, they are proposing to rebuild EXACTLY what has proven to be a failed development concept. It is absolutely mind blowing to me.

I don't have a problem with the expressway/freeway conversion other than the way it was executed in the early years through Charlottes best older neighborhoods. It was at one point supposed to come through or closer to Myers Park but was shifted towards the lower income side of town. In any event, there is nothing lost in tearing down just about everything past the eastway interchange. Charlotte really needs an east/west interstate and 74 of course is a statewide east/west corridor into tenn. I think the redevelopment opportunities will be incredible when transit arrives and developers understand what they can do with the infill sites up and down the corridor.

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True, and so they build a new Walmart bigger than ever and leave the one empty on Eastway, which greatly concerns the area as this might be tough to fill. Maybe a Rose's? :dontknow:

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True, and so they build a new Walmart bigger than ever and leave the one empty on Eastway,....
To Walmart's credit, which they don't often get, that 60's era shopping center, the one at Eastway and Central, was falling into ruin at the time that Walmart opened there which did have the effect of reviving it. My guess is that it would look more like Amity Gardens if they had not come there in the first place.

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To Walmart's credit, which they don't often get, that 60's era shopping center, the one at Eastway and Central, was falling into ruin at the time that Walmart opened there which did have the effect of reviving it. My guess is that it would look more like Amity Gardens if they had not come there in the first place.

We were happy to get it, and it helped greatly. Our concern is when it leaves, and the old Goody's location across the street needs a tenant also.

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This still misses the whole point, that the style of the development being proposed at Amity Gardens is exactly what failed in the first place. Wal Mart is not proposing to build something remotely innovative or something that would mesh well with a nearby future transit station. Reoccupying a vacant decaying building like Roses is doing is one thing, but to start with a clean slate and repeat mistakes of the past is incredibly frustrating. I dont have a problem with Wal Mart, or the fact that they are investing in a forgotten part of Charlotte. They just need to get on board and at least try to do something worthwhile for area.

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Since Independence carries freeway-level volumes, it seems unrealistic to wish it would have remained a street. I also think that arterials lined with strip retail are a failing concept, when everyone shops these days in power centers, lifestyle centers or unique places. In other words, living off of right-turn-only access at freeway speeds may have sped up the blight, but not much unlike South Boulevard, I think you'd still see older commercial strip centers suffering.

I also think some of the strongest neighborhoods in East Charlotte are along the very section of Independence that is a full freeway inside Briar Creek. I have also heard many Sheffield residents voice a desire for a similar green edge treatment as Chantilly. Of course, since trees don't take transit, there seems to be a need to balance greening Independence yet still leaving land for future development at stations.

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