Pedestrian bridge project in the works to connect uptown, South End proposed

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There is a major project in the works that will connect uptown Charlotte and South End -- a new pedestrian bridge that would help many people who walk or use the light rail to get to work.

The light rail bridge abruptly ends along the Blue Line.

“Right now, 277 is definitely a barrier for any pedestrians or cyclists who want to get uptown,” project manager Dan Leaver said.

This would be an $11 million project, and it has already been funded by public and private dollars -- $3.1 million from the City of Charlotte, $3.3 from NCDOT and $3.1 from Mecklenburg County.

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U.S. Bank also put in a $1 million investment.

Construction is scheduled to start in the fall of 2021, with the hope that it will be done by 2023.

“What we want to have is a design people can remember and point to as they are out there,” Leaver said.

There is also a proposal to turn a railyard at the Matheson Avenue Bridge into a 220-acre park.

Eric Spengler heads a nonprofit trying to churn up interest in it.

“That area, right now, is not being used productively,” said Spengler, with Friends of Queens Park. “It is basically a parking lot for trains.”

Spengler said the park would be a game-changer.

There are, however, some obstacles.

The Charlotte City Council and the Mecklenburg County Commission would have to buy the land from Norfolk Southern.

The county recently hired a consultant to help create a master plan.

The vice chairman of the Parks Commission, Rick Winiker, said ideas like Queens Park are exactly what the commission is looking for.

“If we bring community-driven ideas, like places we can come together in an iconic park, that would make Charlotte a wonderful place in the Southeast,” Winiker said.

Queens Park has a long way to go to come to fruition.

Proponents of the idea are focused on building up community and local leader interest.

Norfolk Southern hasn't been engaged.