Monday, March 31, 2014

Independence Boulevard - Urbanizing Its Design, Part 1

I live 1,300 feet north of Independence Boulevard, and as an urban planner, I think about it a lot - namely how it's not being built to fit into an urban context.  Looking at the existing freeway section between I-277 and Albemarle Rd., there are several sites that seem to have had a rural or suburban highway design placed into an otherwise urban context. I'll run a short series on these sites, but for now, here's one section and an idea for urbanizing it a bit.

The in-town neighborhoods of Plaza-Midwood (north of Independence Blvd.) and Chantilly (south of Independence Blvd.) are both really popular for their pre-war and early post-war housing stock, local businesses and proximity to Uptown Charlotte (a.k.a. downtown).  However, the conversion of Independence Blvd. to a freeway resulted in a limited street grid - 1.3 miles between Pecan Ave. and Briar Creek Rd. with no north-south street connections.

BEFORE


Now given, the freeway's not being converted back to a surface street anytime soon (for now), so here's a design idea that would enable greater bicycle/pedestrian connectivity between these two neighborhoods: a pedestrian bridge, strategically-placed:

a) At a location where right-of-way/street centerlines still exist on BOTH sides of Independence Blvd.
b) At a location that allows a "midway" crossing point between Pecan Ave. and Briar Creek Rd.

AFTER





1 comment:

  1. Great Idea; I hope something like it comes to pass soon. The Greenway connector is more than 10 years away, and it seems technically difficult.

    I don't think Hanover Street should be ruled out as a good connection. The Church might be very willing to allow an easement for such a connector.

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