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Charlotte Greenways and Trails


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Looks  like city council approved the 17mil bid for the Tyvola to Brandywine greenway last night.  That is the big connector between the upper and lower section of Little Sugar Creek.   Hopefully star

While walking on my local trail the other day--in lieu of being able to go to the gym--I had an idea:  What if Discovery Place, affiliated organizations and arts groups worked with the parks and

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47 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

I will continue my thoughts about parks over here.  Wake County has better parks I believe in Mecklenburg county because they invested in them.  I am not counting the state park in the county William B Umstead.  The city of Raleigh purchased for $52 M the Dorthea Dix park site from the state.  (they did want the state to sell it to them way below market price but that is still a hefty sum) It covers 308 acres.  Mecklenburg county controls the parks for the entire county and funding has always been low.  Too many other priorities or what some think are.   

Wake County has larger regional parks and each municipality has their own.

Parks, Recreation and Open Space | Wake County Government (wakegov.com)   These tend to be more regional parks like Yates Mill and Lake Crabtree both of which I have been to and they are really nice and big.

City of Raleigh parks Parks | Raleighnc.gov      and the town of Cary  Parks | Town of Cary

they have a great regional greenway trail system.  and yes I think that is model for Charlotte and our surrounding counties.  Cary greenways connect to Raleigh which connect to regional trails like the American Tobacco Trail.  

When new development is proposed of any size they ask for land donations for their greenways.   

While I think a park where the Norfolk Southern railyard is would be great.  I think it is unlikely you can not force a railroad to sell their land and at what cost.  Maybe some land on the edges or some unused areas.  Here is an example of where I think Charlotte misses the mark.   I see no discussion about a new park on the Panthers practice fields which the county owns?   Why not a park there?   In a city that is rapidly developing some kind of park should be built there. 

I think we need greenway charitable fund set up like metro Atlanta.  Why does something like this not exist in Charlotte with our huge corporations?

PATH Foundation  this has been in existence for 30 years raising money for trails and greenways in the metro Atlanta area. 

I love Charlotte but I think we can do A LOT BETTER on parks in area and yes I do think Raleigh and Cary are models and even Atlanta.  

Here is our Mecklenburg county park website and figures

About Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation (MCPR) (mecknc.gov)

 

 

This trust for public land report seems to conduct a very crude comparative analysis.  

When I came to Charlotte, I was actually surprised to find so many golf courses and driving ranges managed by the parks department.  I don't believe that exists in a place like, say, Jacksonville, FL.  This report puts a ton of stock into amount of land and walkable access, but what about the diversity of features/amenities across the entire system.  Shouldn't cities get credit for that?  Frankly, I'd rather see portions of some of our existing parks converted into munich-style beer gardens as a type of activation, than to just add more passive space. 

I also know that Jacksonville, FL started a preservation plan 20+ years ago, funded by a sales tax increase, that largely purchases sensitive land out of the path of development.  "Sensitive Land" is code for swamps that mitigate massive flooding risk.  It was a good thing for Jacksonville to do, but a lot of that land isn't all that accessible nor is it all that desirable to visit as a park enthusiast or tourist.  I've yet to see a park in a number of sunbelt cities as stunning as Freedom Park, or as stunning as lake-side at Jetton Park in Cornelius.

So yea, I question the validity of the report's methodology.  I bet if you conducted a sentiment analysis of Charlotte-Meck's parks versus those in other sunbelt cities, I'd venture that the collective sentiment here stands much higher than that in other places.  In fact, it's this damn trust for public  land's report that's trying to kill that collective sentiment here.

I think we should be targeted and smart about our parks approach.  Our city is basically the county, and we have trees everywhere and plenty areas in the county have homes with sizable lots.  Also, a number of apartment complexes and subdivisions come with "park-like" amenities under private control.  So why waste public funds on parks in those places?  In these suburban/subdivision areas, greenways that double as transit corridors make a ton of sense, so even people in these communities can start to engage in "functional cycling."  As for other Parks Department assets - make those assets "Destination" parks - or park gems - and concentrate them in the densest, most urban-feeling parts of the city.   Such parks would be so compelling as to draw in suburbanites for special trips, to draw in tourists to the area, and to provide respite to adjacent, high-rise and mid-rise urban-dwellers.

 

Edited by RANYC
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Charlotte's ranking is influenced by so much of the parks space in areas like South Charlotte being private... the Public Land Trust says the Ballantyne Country Club neighborhood is in high need for a public park for example (see image of this plighted neighborhood below)... Uh no, those people are fine. Their HOA is paying for resort pools, a WATER SLIDE, tennis courts, private greenways, and a full on golf course. They basically live in a resort park. Now an argument on these luxury amenities being "private parks" rather than "public parks" is really a different discussion than the concept of a 10 minute walk to outdoor space and recreation.

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Most of the older established neighborhoods in Charlotte that are not out in HOA subdivision land are within 10 minutes of a park per the Public Land Trust map.

Edited by CLT2014
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Or like this HOA supported park in Waxhaw in the community of Millbridge one of my favorite pools in the area.  But this is not a park or recreation area according to that study.  To the right is several covered basketball courts for the residents. 

See the source image

Edited by KJHburg
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2 hours ago, CLT2014 said:

I  get the definition. My point was for implementing more parks based on the report... is Ballantyne Country Club a "high-needs" area for a park within a 10 minute walk per the Public Trust? The neighborhood is large and self-contained on park-like amenities. Many residents have a 10-minute+ walk just to get out of the neighborhood. Should the county spend a bunch of money so residents of this expensive neighborhood can walk to both a county funded park just outside their entrance while they already have their private HOA park amenities? They have a soccer field, playground, dog park, picnic area, and open space area all within the middle of their neighborhood covered by HOA dues.

IMO, the focus should be on building more parks in areas where neighborhoods don't have private amenities. Looking at the map, that includes many of the SFH neighborhoods built in the 60's -> 90's, such as around South Park or East Charlotte.  That includes more pocket parks in the urban areas and inner neighborhoods. These neighborhoods were often built without a public park nearby and they also don't have private amenities because they are pre-HOA / resort amenity era.  Greenways are also a great way to promote connectivity among neighborhoods and should be a priority over getting areas like Ballantyne Country Club a public park to check a box. 

Yes...but...do you really think the CharMeck is actually going to build a park for the Ballantyne Country Club area?  I would assume that is the last place on their priority list, no matter what where it falls on some arbitrary internet list.  I think we have seen the city/county prioritize greenway building the past 10 years.  

But that still doesn't mean the "other" people around that area aren't hurting for a park.  Ballantyne doesn't have much out there beside Elon Park and the old golf course (that i know of).

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5 hours ago, InSouthPark said:

Yes...but...do you really think the CharMeck is actually going to build a park for the Ballantyne Country Club area?  I would assume that is the last place on their priority list, no matter what where it falls on some arbitrary internet list.  I think we have seen the city/county prioritize greenway building the past 10 years.  

But that still doesn't mean the "other" people around that area aren't hurting for a park.  Ballantyne doesn't have much out there beside Elon Park and the old golf course (that i know of).

I think CLT2014 is simply proposing a model for prioritization, and explaining a factor in CLT's low ranking.

  1. CLT Low Ranking:  CLT development patterns set it up to do poorly in this report's ranking.  Not saying I'm an advocate for suburban sprawl with big lot sizes, but that sort of pattern raises the bar for what will get Charlotte suburbanites to a park.  As for 10 minute walking access to park-space, well when vast expanses of the city are covered in subdivisions where it takes 10 minutes just to drive out of an amenity-rich country club development, then why would the city start incurring debt and spending money for the glory of a single report's accolades. 
  2. Priorization:  What needs do public parks meet for residents?  Where do you place parks so that they're meeting the greatest volume of need possible?  Given so much of Charlotte city area is suburban sprawl, household needs for open greenspace and trees aren't as stark as what you'll find in denser and more urbanized governments.   Even middle-income apartment communities in suburban parts of Charlotte feature green spaces with gazebos and grills and pools and playground equipment.  Why spend scarce public resources on passive green space and playground equipment adjacent to similar privately held amenities in suburban subdivisions and complexes?
  3. Solution:  Be smarter about future growth.  Encourage density.  Ensure greenspace in areas planned for the greatest future density.  For the broader populace including subdivision and country club denizens, add features and events to existing public parks so that residents get differentiated experiences they won't get at their local clubhouses (like Discovery Nature, like petting zoos, like aquariums, like sculpture or history walks, like a beer garden, like live music and outdoor recital structures, like public gardens, and yes, like the greenway system to have the option to cycle to a shopping center or to school).

 

 

Edited by RANYC
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The greenway extension to Green Rea is officially killed by Country Day Middle School and it's neighbors.  Disappointed, but I will stay access I can walk to.  When it gets started is another story.  They do have recent ROW /property edge staked out at Ryder with "trail" on the them so they are doing "something".   Such a shame the school and neighbors delayed this project for more than a year (probably two before its started). 

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is providing an update on the McAlpine Creek Greenway project (Johnston Road to Green Rea Road): Due to difficulty acquiring the necessary real estate to make a greenway trail connection to Green Rea Road at this time, the Department is exploring a new trail alignment that terminates the greenway north of Highway 51/Pineville-Matthews Road (at the proposed trailhead parking lot). This alignment will include an access to Ryder Avenue, consistent with one of the options shared at the December 2020 virtual community engagement meeting. We will use any remaining project funding that would have paid for the connection to Green Rea Road to improve access to the greenway trail. 

More information about the project and future schedule updates will be posted to the project website: https://publicinput.com/McAlpineGR2J

UPDATE: I emailed the county Parks and Rec planner and she said the project is officially off "on-hold" status and back to design status.  The ROW stakes are helping them and the city plan the entrance to Ryder as that one parcel is city property.  Everything else is county property.  Proposed construction schedule in "the coming months".

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Edited by InSouthPark
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2 hours ago, InSouthPark said:

The greenway extension to Green Rea is officially killed by Country Day Middle School and it's neighbors.  Disappointed, but I will stay access I can walk to.  When it gets started is another story.  They do have recent ROW /property edge staked out at Ryder with "trail" on the them so they are doing "something".   Such a shame the school and neighbors delayed this project for more than a year (probably two before its started). 

Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is providing an update on the McAlpine Creek Greenway project (Johnston Road to Green Rea Road): Due to difficulty acquiring the necessary real estate to make a greenway trail connection to Green Rea Road at this time, the Department is exploring a new trail alignment that terminates the greenway north of Highway 51/Pineville-Matthews Road (at the proposed trailhead parking lot). This alignment will include an access to Ryder Avenue, consistent with one of the options shared at the December 2020 virtual community engagement meeting. We will use any remaining project funding that would have paid for the connection to Green Rea Road to improve access to the greenway trail. 

More information about the project and future schedule updates will be posted to the project website: https://publicinput.com/McAlpineGR2J

The vindictive a**h*** in me wants to organize a public march in support of the park system featuring a loop through this slice of backwards suburbia.   

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1 minute ago, InTheYear2000 said:

The vindictive a**h*** in me wants to organize a public march in support of the park system featuring a loop through this slice of backwards suburbia.   

That would strike terror in their hearts.  Non-rich people roaming their neighborhood.  *shudder*

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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, KJHburg said:

Took a walk on the Four Mile Creek Greenway from John St in Matthews to the Squirrel Lake Park also in Matthews.  Despite my photos showing no people there were quite a few people on this section of the greenway.  

Here is my new mantra:   "Before you Build a Freeway Cap,  Build out the Greenway Map!"

These greenways serve far more people than a cap park would and yes I do think that should be done in the future but only after this greenway map is built out.  The Town of Cary population 185.000 has 80 miles of greenways compared to the whole of Mecklenburg with 56 miles.    Be more like Cary.

Parks, Greenways & Environment | Town of Cary   Cary

Mecklenburg County Greenways (mecknc.gov)  Meck County

the master plan 

County-Greenways-092320 (mecknc.gov)

set up a private foundation for gifts like Atlanta's Path foundation. 

PATH Foundation

photos today this greenway needs to be collected to the huge Matthews sportsplex park across the street too.    Charlotte we can do this! 

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It's already connected to the Sportsplex (there is a signaled cross walk across East John and then it picks up across the street). Depending on how you access, there is a short walk on sidewalks on East Charles/Tank Town. I use it frequently. 

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On 10/6/2021 at 1:42 PM, KJHburg said:

Took a walk on the Four Mile Creek Greenway from John St in Matthews to the Squirrel Lake Park also in Matthews.  Despite my photos showing no people there were quite a few people on this section of the greenway.  

Here is my new mantra:   "Before you Build a Freeway Cap,  Build out the Greenway Map!"

These greenways serve far more people than a cap park would and yes I do think that should be done in the future but only after this greenway map is built out.  The Town of Cary population 185.000 has 80 miles of greenways compared to the whole of Mecklenburg with 56 miles.    Be more like Cary.

Parks, Greenways & Environment | Town of Cary   Cary

Mecklenburg County Greenways (mecknc.gov)  Meck County

the master plan 

County-Greenways-092320 (mecknc.gov)

set up a private foundation for gifts like Atlanta's Path foundation. 

PATH Foundation

photos today this greenway needs to be collected to the huge Matthews sportsplex park across the street too.    Charlotte we can do this! 

IMG_3933.JPG

IMG_3934.JPG

IMG_3935.JPG

IMG_3936.JPG

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I live about a mile and a half from that greenway and run there often.  It's really nice.  I wish it was a bit more extensive.  The extension out to the sports plex is nice and I hope the plans for it to cross over Trade street under the new bridge happen sooner rather than later.  I grew up hiking and playing in the woods where the greenway is supposed to go.  Having that creek and section of nature be accessible to more people would be great. 

Edited by TGIBridays
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Adding a new pet peeve for the Charlotte "cross trail".  You know the one that has no connection from Little Sugar Creek greenway to McMullen greenway unless you want to walk on a super busy road with no sidewalks.

The southern terminus of Little Sugar creek greenway ends at the Polk site.  Fun fact...you can't even park there on a Sunday.  Gates closed.   Next closest designated parking lot is the 3-4 parallel spots by the Best Buy or up by Target.  

Is there a town that has less regards for sidewalks than Pineville?  No sidewalks around the mall.   No sidewalks on 51.  Little to no sidewalks on Polk St.  Sidewalks to nowhere on Main St. 

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1 hour ago, tozmervo said:

I think this came up a while back. Is the "side path" indicated below not built? 

Cross Charlotte Trail Segment 01 - South Charlotte Connector (charlottenc.gov)

image.png.5b41cea4cca1edc4f813149074cb3d90.png

Correct.  The "Trail (County)" part was never built.  So you can't get from LSCG to McMullen.  No sidewalk anywhere around there except for maybe 50yds in front of Havertys.  I tried it once and was running through busy parking lots and grass hills.  Never again.   City did their part and added new wide sidewalks and crossings all the way up to the Pineville town border.  County (nor Pineville) did not. 

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