Monday, July 2, 2012

Major bike trail among city's 'zombie' projects

The proposal to keep building Charlotte's long-planned streetcar route is now officially a zombie. It's among the living dead, or maybe in the "not dead – yet" category. But so is a $35 million proposal in which the city would have helped the county build out its greenway system, including a bike trail to run from UNC Charlotte to Pineville.

I wrote a piece for – the website I direct at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute – which was also picked up by The Charlotte Observer last Saturday. The PlanCharlotte piece is here: "Finding a lesson in city's budget, streetcar impasse."

Far less publicity has gone to the other community proposals that also were not adopted and, given electoral politics,  are likely to stay in cold storage until after the 2013 City Council elections. Here's a link to a lot of details from the proposed Capital Improvement Program. The cross-county multi-use trail is one proposal whose demise (for now) has drawn sharp disappointment in some quarters. (Want to see a map? Here's a link to City Manager Curt Walton's PowerPoint, with the trail on page 15.) It's also reproduced below.

Two students I know both said the trail and other projects were the sort that would attract young, educated people to Charlotte, or keep them here. That's not scientific research, just anecdotal evidence to ponder.