Corridors of Opportunity Brings Bike Safety to Historic West End

On Monday evening project managers discussed plans for the Beatties Ford Road Parallel Bike Boulevard to bring new bicycle-friendly infrastructure to the Historic West End.   

Part of a series of projects within the Beatties Ford Road/Rozzelles Ferry Road Corridor of Opportunity, the $860,000 project will circle the neighborhoods of Oaklawn, Washington Heights, Lincoln Heights, and McCrorey Heights. It will also connect to the Northwest School of the Arts, West Charlotte High School, and Johnson C. Smith University.

Unlike the Uptown CycleLink, which uses concrete barriers to separate the bike lane from the roadway, the BFR Bike Boulevard route will primarily include “sharrows,” arrows marked on the pavement to indicate to motorists to share the road with cyclists. Wayside markers indicating local points of interest will also be installed along the route, helping cyclists orient themselves to their destinations.

Other projects in the corridor of opportunity include an expanded sidewalk along a portion of BFR, as well as traffic signals, ADA compliant sidewalk ramps and crosswalks. In addition to safety, the neighborhood improvements are a much-needed beautification upgrade, according to Bailey Lankford of Charlotte General Services.

“Some of these crosswalks probably haven’t been painted in years,” he said.

This bike lane project is just part of Charlotte’s effort to make the city more bike-friendly, as well as reduce the city’s carbon footprint.

Ely Portillo of UNC Charlotte’s Urban Institute says this is how Charlotte is starting to “correct some of its past mistakes,” and “reverse-engineer that pre-existing automobile infrastructure.”

Portillo says this highway infrastructure also has equity components:

“Charlotte is very geographically sprawling and it’s sometimes easy to forget that not everyone has a car.”

Last night’s gathering at The Ritz and Washington Heights was one of the first times City planners directly engaged with the community.

“The beautification is nice, and it’s hopefully not the last step,” Marsha Livingston, a Washington Heights community member said.

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