DAVIDSON – The North-South Parkway is dead. Long live, perhaps, the North-South System.
A public meeting held April 11 at River Run Country Club served as a wake for a 30-year-old vision for a major roadway between Huntersville and Mooresville east of N.C. 115 – a recognized regional objective since 1988 and referenced five years before that in an adopted Davidson thoroughfare plan – and the first viewing of a proposal to connect existing roads to improve north-south connectivity.
The revised plan prepared by planners from the counties and towns involved, working with transportation consultants, evolved based on feedback obtained during a year-long North-South Parkway Sub Area Study.
The ultimate goal, as it was when the idea for the route initially arose, is to establish “lines on a map” declaring expectations that the improvements – not part of any current state or local funding package – be built. An adopted plan would serve as a reference guide for land-use decisions and illustrate the extent of road improvements associated with future development of property along the route.
“After tonight, the North-South Parkway is no more,” Bill Thunberg, executive director of the Lake Norman Transportation Commission and a longtime participant in regional road-planning efforts, said at the River Run event. “The new plan, based on input and opinions we received, involves improvements – including pedestrian and bicyclists lanes – to existing roads and a few new connections.”
Thunberg and others involved in the study said the revised proposal, still open to comment and critique at northsouthparkway.org, emerged as the best option for getting a plan in place.
“It’s not physically impossible,” Thunberg said about the idea of creating a multi-lane north-south thoroughfare through the region, “but it is virtually impossible to do it and meet each community’s vision.”
Huntersville Transportation Planner Bill Coxe, who has more than 30 years of experience in regional road-planning efforts, agreed with that assessment.
“To incorporate what people from the communities told us, take environmental factors into consideration and meet traffic improvement goals,” Coxe said, “there doesn’t seem to be a single suitable multi-lane route through the area.”
Joe Lesch, senior transportation planner with the Gresham Smith consulting firm, said the eventual design, especially the network of connections proposed north of N.C. 73, evolved directly from community input.
“There probably was a way to do it,” Lesch said about outlining one major thoroughfare, “but the towns and the property owners couldn’t agree and this became the best approach.”
The new proposal incorporates use of N.C. 73, Davidson-Concord Road, Shearer Road and Coddle Creek Road as major arteries with a series of proposed road connections. The northern extension of Prosperity Church Road from just beyond Eastfield Road remains a central part of the Huntersville-area plan, along with a new road through northeastern Huntersville tying in at the N.C. 73/Davidson-Concord Road intersection.
One proposed connection would swing to the east to connect with Poplar Tent Road and another proposed section would extend from Concord Road in Davidson, cross Grey Road and connect with Presbyterian Road in Iredell County.
Public comments on all aspects of the proposal are still being compiled and the review process will also involve town and Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization scrutiny.