Advocating for a more pedestrian and bicycling friendly neighborhood in Plaza Midwood.
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We, the undersigned, call on City Council to engage the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) to make The Plaza and Central Avenue safer and more welcoming for pedestrians through a “Complete Street” approach that aligns to the city’s Urban Street Design Guidelines. A “Complete Street” is a street designed to be safe and comfortable for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists, and individuals of all ages and capabilities.
We ask that City Council take quick action due to the dramatic increase in new residents expected along this short stretch of Central Ave within the next one to two years. The existing infrastructure is unsafe and uninviting for pedestrians. With the significant growth, we need proper infrastructure that encourages walking, biking, and use of public transit as a primary mode of transportation and reduces the number of cars on the road.
We ask for the following “complete street” elements to be considered in the plan:
(A) The Plaza between Parkwood and Central (0.9 miles) – Reduce car lanes to one lane on each side. Add protected bike lanes on each side. Provide additional safe pedestrian crossing points. Add warning signs to indicate pedestrian crossings.
(B) Central Ave between Morningside and Louise (1.3 miles) – Reduce car lanes to one lane on each side. Covert one lane into a center turning lane so that the traffic flow in the single lanes is more efficient . Create a protected bike lane for travel in both directions. Widen sidewalks and/or increase buffer between walkers and cars. Add more pedestrian crossings via refuge islands as part of center lane. Provide safe and welcoming bus/transit stops that allow for efficient traffic flow.
(C) Central Ave between Louise and 7th (0.4 miles) / 10th between Louise and 12th (0.4 miles) – Continue the protected bike lanes, providing connection points to the Cross Charlotte Trail and uptown area.
• In addition, we ask that CDOT continue to implement smaller quick fixes for traffic calming and pedestrian safety including but not limited to the following: pedestrian warning signs, signal changes, no turn on red, all-cross / scramble crosswalks at main intersections, etc.
The proposed street improvements would be a relatively small investment for the city, yet would provide several significant benefits to residents in the surrounding neighborhoods as well as the greater city of Charlotte...
• Increased connectivity in highly populated urban area - The target area for improvement is only a total of 3 miles, yet could provide safe pedestrian connections to SO many places – from neighborhood businesses, parks, and bus stops to huge city investments like the Cross Charlotte Trail and the future street car and rail lines.
• Improve safety – Traffic calming and increased awareness of pedestrians will lead to reducing the number of accidents/injuries.
• Health benefits – Encouraging more walking and bicycling helps improve overall health of the community.
• Economic benefits – Complete streets projects have been proven to increase small business revenue, create net new businesses and increase property values, suggesting that the street improvements make the area more desirable for residents and business owners. The increased tax income due to higher property values would help offset the city’s initial investment.
• Reduce congestion and improve traffic flow - Providing streets that allow for all types of users will increase pedestrians and decrease number of cars, and thoughtful design will allow cars to move more efficiently along with pedestrians.
• Serves neighborhoods where an active cycling and walking culture already exists and provides ability for that culture to expand as more people will feel comfortable.
• Ties directly into the existing CDOT study on Parkwood / Plaza which would extend the pedestrian connectivity to the Parkwood Blue Line Station to even more people.
• Demonstrates the city’s commitment to the existing USDG Complete Streets policy.
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