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Hybrid0NE

Erase-277 (Charlotte's Downtown Loop)

Should Charlotte demolish I-277?  

143 members have voted

  1. 1. Should Charlotte demolish I-277?

    • Yes
      35
    • No
      97
    • Unsure
      11


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42314dd43e789.jpg

I may be positioning myself for an e-assasination by a Queen City loyalist but I've always thought the interstate beltloop choking booming Uptown was unnecessary. Maybe it's part of the reason why Uptown has and continues to sprout vertically but it really isolates the CBD from the rest of the city (maybe that's what Charlotte's planners wanted) and it could be so much more lively (after coporate CLT speeds to the suburbs) without it's presence. Those are my random thoughts, your turn...

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i think that may have the opposite effect. the commuters from outside the center city would revolt. the sprawl would worsen. how is vertical growth a bad thing?

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Some aspects of this were discussed a while ago on this thread:

The Fall of Brookshire Freeway

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.ph...wtopic=5309&hl=

I still think that uptown density, relies on significant amounts of road, transit, AND freeway capacity. We would suffocate if all regional auto traffic relied on the 2 or 3 77 exits.

Even if the freeway itself were converted back to surface road, it would still be 2 major arterial routes which connect Independence Freeway to the Airport/West Charlotte arterial (US 74) and to 85/NorthWest Charlotte arterial (NC 16). I still believe that all that a surface road that would attempt to have that much capacity would be as pedestrian friendly as indedependence boulevard (ie. NOT AT ALL).

Also, the only real "choking" effect would be if people can't get from place to place... that means by foot AND by car AND by transit.

As I wrote on the other thread, Belk has many more negative attributes that choke pedestrian routes between the Trolley Line and 4th St. It also has exit loops where i think they could have easily taken advantage of the grid network to provide 4 90 degree turns, and kept a block or two open for development.

But anyway, i think it is worth discussing, so that any problems can be addressed. Realistically, it would cost so much to convert or remove, i don't think it would actually happen in this generation. But i strongly believe that the health of uptown business, commerce, and residential population relies on maximizing all possible transportation capacity. I think pedestrian and transit capacity need to increased from where we are, and auto capacity needs to be held steady, with some bottleneck and safety tweaks here and there.

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I think the loop has made it possible for Uptown to be such a hotbed of employment for people living way out in the suburbs--it makes commuting so damn convenient.

IF Charlotte had not grown the way that it has, then the loop would not be so necessary, but removing it now would probably prompt more suburban office parks and such. This is one situation where a loop has probably helped high-density development. Loops do make things convenient, and it just so happens that this loop makes Uptown convenient for people living way out.

The 2010 Center City Plan (a revision of the original plan from the 70s) called for burying up to 1 mile of the Belk Freeway (the southern part of I-277) to form a seamless connection between Uptown and South End while preserving the convenience of a loop.

Needless to say, this project would be very expensive, but studies have been done so it is feasible if funding can be secured. This would be a Charlotte project of course--I doubt the NCDOT would dump money into it. Perhaps someday it will happen. I personally don't care either way, but a buried freeway would be cool.

Also, forgot to add this--The whole thing is elevated in many places, so noise isn't a big deal. And the Brookshire Freeway portion (the northern part) is a blast to drive on--steep hills, tight curves, short ramps--it has character and I like that.

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I don't think having the loop is that bad. Manhattan is an island, which helps it maintain its uniqueness and personality, yet people from the four other boroughs of NYC and its suburbs still flock to it for work, shopping, culture, etc and don't feel removed from it. And yes, it has also helped grow it vertically - very much so.

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I think when projects start filling in 2nd ward, and there are more residents and tax money there, i think they'll at least build a pedestrian bridge. Possibly, when they reconnect alexander in 2nd ward (as they are starting to do with the Metro School project), maybe they can pop a small road bridge connecting alexander to Vance Street or Euclid on the other side.

As much as i'd love a park, i just don't believe it will happen. Street/pedestrian connections must happen, though, and DOT money is more easily spent for that than a park anyway.

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I loved the idea that Norff brought up. Turn the southern section of 277 between uptown and southend into a tunnel. Then cover it over with a long park, could spurt growth on both sides?

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I loved the idea that Norff brought up.  Turn the southern section of 277 between uptown and southend into a tunnel.  Then cover it over with a long park, could spurt growth on both sides?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, I also like the idea, but it would probably be way too expensive to do. The "big dig" artery project up in Beantown started with a budget of $2 billion and when it's all said and done, will total about $15 billion. Projects that require tunneling seem to always require enormous amounts of money and, unless the Feds get involved, not sure what the major source of funds would be.

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This would not require tunneling....due to the trough the road already sits in......only the exit ramps would need to be reconfigured, and then a cap placed on the road.

The Parks and Rec. dept. has this project listed on their 2030 wants/needs list, with a price tag of $200M. We'll see on this one, but I'm not holding my breath

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Why not sell air rights to build on top of sections of John Belk? The rest should be a park. Philadelphia, Seattle and Duluth have all capped freeways with parks. There is no reason it can't be done here. Besides, capping John Belk would do a myriad of things: it would save vaulable land that's about to be covered with a park in 3rd Ward...not taxes generated from that, it would reconnect uptown with Dilworth, and it would provide a much larger park than the little piece of crap proposed near the stadium.

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Pardon my ignorance, but does anyone have a pic (or maybe a description would suffice) of what a capped freeway looks like? Im unfamilar with the term even though I hear it all the time.

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I like the idea of capping it. Gradually put the all (or large chucknks) of it underground... or at least below the grade to create a sunken freeway. I agree that 277 is vital to Uptown's existance now.

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I actually like the capping idea, the rendering seems promising but they should cap the majority of the freeway. The only open-air should be where it interchanges with I-77 and the junction on the East side (where it goes into Independence?)

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I actually like the capping idea, the rendering seems promising but they should cap the majority of the freeway. The only open-air should be where it interchanges with I-77 and the junction on the East side (where it goes into Independence?)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

there are too many above-grade sections of 277 to cap it completely, but i agree with the principal of doing it on all below grade sections. i think capping brookshire east of brevard (where it shifts to below grade) would provide a positive connection between first ward and belmont/optimist park, and would be a great park connection to the little sugar creek greenway.

Although i like the cap-park ideas, i hope that the cap park solution to the connectivity problem does not mean the government ignores other solutions. I think at minimum, street or pedestrian bridges should be added so that there is no longer than a 1/4 mile gaps between connections.

Parks will prove expensive, and i fear that the proposals will keep being widdled down, and we'd still be left with huge barrier sections with no way across.

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I think 277 shouldn't have ever been built but rather something like Raleigh's 440 going around Charlotte's 4 (Billy Graham > Woodlawn > Wendover > Eastway > Sugar Creek)

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I believe that the original plan for rt 4 was a beltway. The neighborhoods raised hell.

as much as they are hated, i think it works okay for our county bypass to be where it is, an out downtown collector/distributor loop to be where it is. The surface roads work well in those neighborhoods, because they fight high density anyway, so why give them the expensive high capacity freeways.

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i like the idea, but somehow, i think we are a decade or two away from land prices or density enough to pay for that. Besides, so far developers haven't scooped up regular land in 2nd ward with nothing but a parking lot on it, how are we going to convince them to build a project on top of an interstate freeway?

I'm for it, but i don't see the market for that yet. Personally, i consider myself pioneering, but would not purchase a unit built over 277.

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Is there any information as to how much more it costs to build over a freeway than on greenfield (or grayfield in uptown's case)? Are there examples of highrises over freeways, or is it usually under ten stories or so?

The only place i have seen air rights used as it might be used on 277 would be i90 in Boston. But the examples i remember are the T station by copley square and a run down hotel further west. There might have been other non-descript midrise office buildings.

I'm still not convinced it would happen in charlotte this decade, but i'm intrigued.

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I can think of a building built over GA400 in south Buckhead......also, I'm not sure, but there may be something over I-25 in Denver where Stapleton Airports E-W runway was.......and then there are plenty of examples in Europe (of course).

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