In a word, yes. The primary goal of this project is to create safe and comfortable bike commuting options for cyclists of all ages and abilities. There is no space available in Uptown to create a “AAA” bike network without some impacts on vehicle traffic and parking. The Uptown Connects Study revealed that there are currently 34 continuous lanes for vehicles running east-west through the Uptown and zero for cyclists. This project helps to address that imbalance by reallocating some space that is currently used for vehicles.
After evaluating every block and corridor in Uptown Charlotte, the Uptown CycleLink alignment was chosen in part because it has the least impact on traffic. For example, a 2017 pilot project on 6th Street demonstrated that there was only a 5-minute average increase for drivers traversing the length of the Uptown.
Evaluating potential tradeoffs is a part of every city transportation project. In the case of the Uptown CycleLink, the City determined that the significant safety benefits for cyclists and other Uptown travelers, and the opportunity to connect over 40 miles of bikeways into and across Uptown Charlotte, is worth the relatively minor impact to drivers. That tradeoff is consistent with the City’s Vision Zero Action Plan, the Strategic Energy Action Plan, and our commitment to providing safe and comfortable transportation choices for all Charlotteans, no matter how they choose to travel. Also, separated bike facilities have been shown to benefit businesses, promote public health and wellness, reduce emissions, and encourage more people to ride a bicycle.