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

    By: Joe Bruno

    Updated:

    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. 

    [ALSO READ: Big bank sponsorship to help bridge — literally — uptown, South End]

    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.

    [ALSO READ: New retail coming to South End's Rail Trail]

    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.

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