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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.

Agreed, I have not seen the proposed layout in some time, I had hoped that a more urban friendly proposal would have developed since it has been delayed for sometime. My concern is that it is such a large store it will make it very difficult for anything to come in on Eastway, so in a since we are not only repeating the same old same old on Independence but also possibly creating a new dead zone on the Eastway corridor. On a happier note what is being proposed for the motel, pancake house lots is much more dynamic and respects the neighborhood, could tie into transit proposals for Independence, etc..

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Since Independence carries freeway-level volumes, it seems unrealistic to wish it would have remained a street. ...
Indeed. Build a freeway, you get freeway volumes of traffic. If it had not been converted to a freeway it would have never have happened.

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^The distance between I-85 in University City to I-77 in South Charlotte is over 30 miles on I-485. The distance between I-85 in University to I-77 in North Charlotte is only 5 miles. Point being, East Charlotte would have demand for a freeway, even if not planned. As for the planning, Independence has been the chosen route for expressway conversion since the 1970's. With the Monroe By-Pass now being fast-tracked as a turnpike project, the need for a freeway will likely only increase.

Edited by southslider

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.....Point being, East Charlotte would have demand for a freeway, even if not planned. As for the planning, Independence has been the chosen route for expressway conversion since the 1970's......
By whom? Certainly not by the people who lived there. I lived in East Charlotte in the 1980s and nobody wanted a freeway drilled through their part of Charlotte. Just like nobody wanted Charlotte 4 turned into a freeway which was also a plan at one time. (the former outer loop) The Charlotte 4 idea was killed, but unfortunately Independence wasn't. The end result was just as predicted, a long avenue lined with closed businesses and isolation of neighborhoods that have lead to declining values.

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I don't find myself often siding with monsoon so rabidly, but I agree with him on this one wholeheartedly. I remember that area of town before Independence was a freeway, and that side of town was SO different. Go check out Google Maps and take a look at Central Blvd and Hawthorne. Some connectivity remains, but you can clearly see how there was a defined neighborhood, with a walkable commercial district that was severed in half to make room for Independence to become a freeway. I also remember the vibrant businesses along Independence, busy retail very close to downtown.

I sat in traffic on Independence one day as they were tearing up another section of businesses and flattening more stuff and wondered about it. They are ripping the guts out of a close-in neighborhood so that people can live in Matthews. What sense does that make?

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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.

I think you hit the nail on the head and that is based primarily on uncertainty of the highway, not whether light rail or BRT is chosen in the corridor. As much as people want to believe that LRT is the solution to this problem, the inner neighborhoods (Chantilly) abutting Independence indicate that success or failure is not dependent on transit technology, but rather how successfully & quickly these neighborhoods can orient themselves to the adjacent neighborhoods to make commerce viable again.

I also think that when you actually look at the portion of land available for redevelopment that would remain after an expressway project, I think it begins to inform the conversation towards choosing BRT. I just don't think there is enough land available for TOD to justify the extra cost of going to LRT. The only caveat to this would be examining potential for savings in terms of sharing the existing LRV maintenance facility or the potential influence that a climate bill would have on such a technology decision--i.e., something that would favor electrification over a fueled, rubber tire line.

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By whom? Certainly not by the people who lived there. I lived in East Charlotte in the 1980s and nobody wanted a freeway drilled through their part of Charlotte. Just like nobody wanted Charlotte 4 turned into a freeway which was also a plan at one time. (the former outer loop) The Charlotte 4 idea was killed, but unfortunately Independence wasn't. The end result was just as predicted, a long avenue lined with closed businesses and isolation of neighborhoods that have lead to declining values.

Please tell me which neighborhoods have seen a decline in value from Sharon Amity on in? Would you say Chantilly, Plaza Midwood,

Commonwealth Park, or maybe Merry Oaks? Elizabeth or maybe we cross over Eastway where the ranch homes are steadily climbing.

Independence was turned into a freeway in the nineties. Please drive down Commonwealth and see what is happening right know.

It is correct that when Independence was originally built it was forced through by the powers that be at that time.

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...a long avenue lined with closed businesses and isolation of neighborhoods that have lead to declining values...

North Tryon Street? Wilkinson Boulevard? Freedom Drive? Beatties Ford Road? Eastway Drive? Even parts of South Boulevard?

Maybe changes in retailing are as much to blame for Independence's blight as past and planned expressway projects.

Edited by southslider

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By whom? Certainly not by the people who lived there. I lived in East Charlotte in the 1980s and nobody wanted a freeway drilled through their part of Charlotte. Just like nobody wanted Charlotte 4 turned into a freeway which was also a plan at one time. (the former outer loop) The Charlotte 4 idea was killed, but unfortunately Independence wasn't. The end result was just as predicted, a long avenue lined with closed businesses and isolation of neighborhoods that have lead to declining values.

IMO I think it would have provided better access to all parts of the city if the Charlotte 4 was made our beltline and 277 never built, somewhat akin to Raleigh.

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.......

Maybe changes in retailing are as much to blame for Independence's blight as past and planned expressway projects.

I don't know what this means.

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Put more simply, the future of retail is not found in strip commercial. People are shopping more in unique places, not stripped-out arterials. Think unique nodes, instead of linear strips.

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Independence was not a great road in the 70's and 80's. It was two lanes in each direction converted to three lanes. Slicing of the neighborhood had already occured when it was first built. It was not walkable, telephone poles could take your hand off if you stuck it out the window 8". In the whole strip

from Eastway in two businesses where lost that where a part of Charlotte lore, Krispy Kreme and the Boot and Bloomery. And I'll give you the Chinese restaurant on Briarcreek and Independence, The rest was old homes turned into businesses and crappy strip centers. The change to a freeway helped

our neighborhoods greatly in this area as cut through traffic was greatly reduced. Central, Plaza Midwood, Pecan have not been this healthy since the 40's.

getting people from Matthews faster? Last time I checked 74 was a major state artery going from Murphy at the Tenn. line to the ocean in Wilmington.

What would you suggest we do with that fact? The deal is it's a freeway now, what are the positve things we can do with the land with limited access.

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IMO I think it would have provided better access to all parts of the city if the Charlotte 4 was made our beltline and 277 never built, somewhat akin to Raleigh.

Nevermind the thousands of homes & businesses that surely would have been destroyed as a result. Freeways have never been part of the solution to neighborhood building, and more often a significant part of the problem (see the 277 freeway cap idea). Lots of cities have converted freeways into boulevards quite successfully, and more are being planned.

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Independence was not a great road in the 70's and 80's. ....
Neither was downtown Charlotte but it was rebuilt. The same could have happened to that corridor especially in the section from Eastway inwards. There is a reason they are burying these things in other cities such as Boston, they destroy the communities surrounding them. It's been repeated endlessly throughout the USA and yet it continues in Charlotte.
Put more simply, the future of retail is not found in strip commercial. ...
I've heard this before, but I have yet to see it carried out in practice, especially in Charlotte. The Met is a good example of that, and one that was taxpayer financed as well. But forget that. This current discussion is centered around the the planned Walmart that is to be built on this corridor. This is what building these kinds of roads bring.

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And did not the big dig in Boston, no matter how great an urban idea,break a national record at one time for construction costs? putting Independece underground was not an option, it's not going to happen, nor have the neighborhoods deteriorated around said freeway where it has been redone. There is room for proper development between the road we have and the residents in place. Let's discuss it.

Where this topic is currently going was already talked about on the UP four years ago.

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And did not the big dig in Boston, no matter how great an urban idea,break a national record at one time for construction costs? ...
How much has been spent on Independence Blvd?

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More than half of the cost for the planned widening project is right-of-way and that's despite the State still leaving driveways. According to a NCDOT handout at a February 2008 public meeting, the total cost from to just west of Sharon Amity to just east of Wallace is $154 million, of which $97 million is right-of-way. Here is a link that shows how the project (cost estimates, so previously $73 million for the newest section that last year was updated to $154 million) generally increases in cost as you move east.

http://www.ncdot.org/planning/development/.../maps/U0209.pdf

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Perhaps this wouldn't have been as pretty (then again, I've never seen a pretty freeway) but did anybody ever consider building an "upper Independence Blvd" over a non-freeway "lower Independence Blvd"?

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We've all spent a lot of time discussing what Independence used to be, how it was, but it seems like few people want to suggest how it could/should be changed in the future except for those who want LRT to be put down the middle. Its pretty obvious that the strip retail that exists to day is not going to be a sustainable model in the future, so why prolong the inevitable?

Neither was downtown Charlotte but it was rebuilt. The same could have happened to that corridor especially in the section from Eastway inwards. There is a reason they are burying these things in other cities such as Boston, they destroy the communities surrounding them. It's been repeated endlessly throughout the USA and yet it continues in Charlotte.

Can you clarify your statement? Are you suggesting that Independence be removed/buried as an expressway?

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The Boston project was approx. 14.6 Billion dollars for 2 miles. I could be wrong.

The price is right, I think its about 6 miles. Still, an astronomical price.

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The price is right, I think its about 6 miles. Still, an astronomical price.

Actually, is it far more than 2 or 3 miles of roadway under the orginal Central Artery. The price includes the third tunnel under the harbor which extends the Mass Pike (I-90) to Logan Airport, plus the Zakem Bridge (I-93) which replaces a dilapidated double decker bridge over the mouth of the Charles, all the access roads and connectors to Storrow Drive, Rte 1, Mass Pike, the tunnels under the original Central Artery, the Rose Kennedy Parkway which replaces the orignal elevated Central Artery. The engineering was not easy. Imagine, old utilities, subway lines, water, tunnels, the demolition and removal of countless old structures, roadways, tunnels and more. The results are impressive and have elimnated 12 hours of backups daily through Boston. The price was high. However, we now effortlessy commute from North Shore to South Shore via Boston with ease. And we have removed a blighted elevated highway through the center of Boston and created a surface artery with parks, walkways, development sites and future spaces for museums. It's fabulous.

Edited by UrbanLifter

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Actually, is it far more than 2 or 3 miles of roadway under the orginal Central Artery. The price includes the third tunnel under the harbor which extends the Mass Pike (I-90) to Logan Airport, plus the Zakem Bridge (I-93) which replaces a dilapidated double decker bridge over the mouth of the Charles, all the access roads and connectors to Storrow Drive, Rte 1, Mass Pike, the tunnels under the original Central Artery, the Rose Kennedy Parkway which replaces the orignal elevated Central Artery. The engineering was not easy. Imagine, old utilities, subway lines, water, tunnels, the demolition and removal of countless old structures, roadways, tunnels and more. The results are impressive and have elimnated 12 hours of backups daily through Boston. The price was high. However, we now effortlessy commute from North Shore to South Shore via Boston with ease. And we have removed a blighted elevated highway through the center of Boston and created a surface artery with parks, walkways, development sites and future spaces for museums. It's fabulous.

It's about 6 miles, including the Ted Williams, but the complexity is enormous. And I guess the $14B does include the Zakem.

I was fortunate to go to work for a Boston area company after completion, so I didn't have to put up with the traffic before. It's still real easy to get lost if you get off the main highways.

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If we can get Ted Kennedy to give use a few billion dollars to build our projects, we could bury all of Independence and probably build a real heavy-rail subway system too.

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