• Nonprofit unveils plan to add 150 miles of greenway to Mecklenburg County

    By: Mark Barber

    Updated:

    MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. - A new plan has been unveiled to add more greenways in Mecklenburg County.

    On Monday afternoon, a nonprofit called Greenways for Mecklenburg shared their plan to ask county commissioners to add 150 miles of connected greenway by 2030. 

    [READ: Greenway Master Plan]

    As traffic delays on Charlotte's interstates get worse every day, more and more frustrated drivers are searching for ways to escape the gridlock.

    "Charlotte is one of the most rapidly growing cities in the entire country and we can't keep building roads wherever," said Meg Fencil, with Sustain Charlotte, one of the groups that supports the proposal.

    [RELATED: Pedestrian bridge installed as part of major greenway expansion project]

    The goal of adding 150 miles of greenway is quite ambitious since Mecklenburg County only has 47 miles of existing greenway.

    The county is still far behind the goal set back in 2008, which called for 129 miles by 2018.

    [RELATED: City leaders eye plans for $16.7 million pedestrian bridge near uptown]

    "You look at cities like Minneapolis, where people use greenways exclusively to get to and from work," said Mark Boone, with Mecklenburg County Storm Water.

    Boone said a similar network of greenways in Mecklenburg County would connect neighborhoods with business districts from the South Carolina line all the way to University City.

    "Folks who are leaving Pineville on a bicycle could probably get to uptown in 20, less than 30 minutes," Boone said.

    Expanding the greenway is costly. Boone said just to handle the waterway itself, it costs $1.5 million, and that's only to add one extra mile to the greenway. He said it's expensive because they have to reduce erosion, improve the water quality and the flow of the stream.

    All those costs are covered by the county's storm water fee.

    The greenway construction is often much higher because the county must buy the land and build parking.

    [RELATED: Charlotte DOT testing out bike lanes in uptown]

    Funding for those projects is set aside by commissioners, who will now decide if they'll give the green light to more greenways. 

    Channel 9 was told the county fell behind with their greenway plans because funding was lost when the economy tanked 10 years ago.

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