SouthPark project completed ahead of schedule despite COVID-19 restrictions
Gregg Watkins
SouthPark Enhanced Crosswalks

This past spring, ordinary life in Charlotte came to a grinding halt. Shops, restaurants and offices closed. Sporting events, festivals and live performances were canceled. As residents stayed home in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Charlotte streets that were once bustling grew empty and silent.

During the stay-at-home order, construction was designated an essential service. The decreased traffic gave the City of Charlotte an opportunity to make headway on some important projects, including the Enhanced Crosswalks project in the SouthPark area. It’s the first completed project in the SouthPark Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program (CNIP), a collection of infrastructure projects designed to support and sustain the high levels of private investment already underway in the area.

Notably, the Enhanced Crosswalks project is among the first to be started and completed during the pandemic. Construction began April 6 and was completed June 25, weeks ahead of schedule.

Monica Holmes, planning program manager of the city’s Urban Design Center, said, “The crosswalks were chosen to improve pedestrian safety at crossings and create a sense of identity for the SouthPark area. Improved accessibility and visibility, as well as custom branding, all accentuate the importance of pedestrian infrastructure in the SouthPark activity center.”

“The completion of this project is a wonderful step in the right direction for the SouthPark area,” said Hillary Larsen, chair of the SouthPark Association of Neighborhoods (SPAN). “The recent social distancing measures taken over the past four months have only reinforced the importance of providing safe public spaces in the SouthPark area that can be enjoyed by residents, employees and customers alike. SPAN looks forward to working with SouthPark business leaders and the city to complete other elements identified during the CNIP process, including the three-mile SouthPark Loop. When completed, this pathway will include public artwork, exercise stations, food trucks, pop-up concerts and places for residents to safely gather.”

Landscaping and amenity installation at the intersections are being wrapped up and the project will be under warranty for one year. During that time, General Services will perform inspections of the project area at the six and 11-month marks in order to identify any defects the contractor should correct at no cost before final acceptance of the project by the city.