The goal of the Uptown Connects Study was to identify and define ways to overcome the challenges of cycling and walking through Uptown between existing and future greenways and urban trail facilities by creating comfortable and convenient connections/routes to connect these facilities. These connections will promote access to a wider variety of destinations via different modes of transportation, serving populations in neighborhoods adjacent to and within Uptown. Stewart’s evaluation included short- and long-term options to provide comfortable multi-modal facilities for pedestrians and cyclists of all ages and abilities to connect not only the Little Sugar, Irwin, and Stewart Creek greenways through Uptown Charlotte, but also to link the South End and Uptown segments of the Rail Trail, and the future Mooresville to Charlotte Trail. It was also important to focus on linking key destinations including the parks, stadiums, arenas, ballparks, schools, arts & cultural facilities, and transit lines in accordance with the City’s 2020 Vision Plan. One primary focus of this study evaluated the potential and feasibility of implementing a multi-use pathway (a primarily off-street option) along the John Belk Freeway connecting Little Sugar Creek Greenway to Irwin Creek Greenway (Cedar Yards). Evaluation criteria for analysis included All-Mode Safety, Bicycle Mobility, Pedestrian Mobility, Transit Rider Access/Mobility, Vehicular Mobility, Parking Access, Placemaking/Identity/Economic Development, Maintenance, and Cost Effectiveness/Project Readiness.
With a selected alternative, Stewart engineers were engaged to complete a design package for the project in the second phase. This included intersection crossing treatments, barriers, pavement markings, and preliminary signing, along with utility coordination, drainage, and traffic control plans.
Outreach involved informing the public about the design process along the way. A unique public pop-up outreach day and ride to a Knights event garnered over 55,000 impressions from extensive news media coverage of the event. The outreach effort was also supplemented by traditional public meetings and online surveys to gather a broad cross-section of stakeholder input.