Charlotte neighbors upset about $1M price tag for 1/2 mile sidew - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Charlotte neighbors upset about $1M price tag for 1/2 mile sidewalk

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

It's not that residents between Provence Village Lane and East Barden Road are against sidewalks. They say they don't understand why Charlotte City officials want to spend a million dollars to construct a sidewalk in that 1/2 mile stretch.

"My question was you sure you need this?" says Paul Holmes.

Holmes has lived in the community for 38 years. He says not a lot of people walk in the area. And, there's a sidewalk across the street.

"There's need for sidewalks where they need it but now this - it's just not needed" says Holmes.

In an email to City Council members, City Transportation officials said the project was selected because of "traffic volume and speed, proximity to transit stops, neighborhoods, several places of worship, and an elementary school."

As part of the City's Pedestrian Program, the side walk will be six feet wide, with an 8-foot planting strip with street trees, crosswalks, and pedestrian signals.

Transportation staff told council members the project's estimated budget is $1.075,000, and $325,000 will come from the Pedestrian Program funds. The city will get $750,000 from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality state grant.

Transportation officials say the estimated million dollars also includes project planning, design, real estate acquisition, bid and construction.

If it goes forward - construction would start in 2015.

The city says once the project is done, there will be one continuous sidewalk along both sides of Providence Road from Fairview to I-485.

Holmes and other neighbors attended a November community meeting that city staff held about the project.

"I feel like they're coming to tell you what they want to do" says Bill Garrett. "I don't get the feeling they're coming to get suggestions. The feeling is they're going to do what they want to do anyhow."

Neighbors say if the city wants to construct the sidewalk - why not have one that's the same size as the sidewalk across the street?

"I don't object to people having sidewalks to walk on" says Garrett. "You can provide the need without spending so much money. They don't have to have as wide of a project as they're trying to do."

Holmes says "they shouldn't be spending any money on it all because there's no people but if you insist on spending money - make it appropriate to the area. Conform it to what else is around here."

Holmes sent emails to Charlotte City Council members asking them to "stop this unnecessary project, or spend the sidewalk money more wisely in areas begging for attention, or scale this project down from grandiose to conforming to the size of the sidewalks already in the area."

Holmes calls the project "the golden fleece award."

"I'm just surprised there isn't a manager, a city manager, a councilman - somebody - that says you know what - hold off here. What are we trying to do? Make a big name for ourselves or are we looking to help the citizens?

Transportation officials, in the email to City Council members, said "the city of Charlotte is committed to becoming a more "walkable" community as part of an overall strategy for advancing a balanced transportation system that accommodates motorists, transit users, pedestrians and bicyclists."

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