Dedicated Bike Lanes may be coming to Uptown
This week we saw a different traffic pattern in Uptown Charlotte. Temporary bike lanes were put through Uptown. These bike lanes are temporary, but are a test to see if dedicated bike lanes will be feasible. Ideally, they will connect Little Sugar Creek Greenway on the east side of Uptown with the Irwin Creek Greenway on the west side. They will also connect in the center with the Rail Trail along the Lynx Blue Line light rail.
The Charlotte Department of Transportation has set up the temporary lanes in partnership with Charlotte Center City Partners and Sustain Charlotte. They are in closed lanes on parts of Fifth and Sixth Street and Irwin Avenue. These test lanes will be in operation until Sunday.
The week long test will help city leaders see what a protected bike lane would look like through the city. This would allow cyclists a safe way to navigate through the city and be safer for cars as well.
CDOT has been studying the issue over the last year to come up with a solution to link the greenways across the city. They studied traffic volume, driveways, parking decks and a host of other factors to help develop the plan.
If the test is successful, a permanent bike lane could be developed along the route. Estimated cost for the project could be around $6 million including lane reconstruction and signal work. For the test, traffic cones, potted plants and hay bales mark the lane for bikes. In the final plan, a concrete median, planters, or plastic lane markers could direct bicycle traffic. The project is in design stages right now and has yet to be funded. CDOT will release a report at the conclusion of the test.
Charlotte has been developing into a world class city, and bike lanes are one thing that is currently lacking. Being pedestrian and bike friendly is a way to attract the best talent to the workforce. Bike lanes can drive more foot traffic and more retail sales. These benefits make the bike lane a desirable amenity for the city.