You can now travel from SouthPark to Park Road Park and the Cross Charlotte Trail using a new stretch of greenway.
Driving the news: The first phase of the Backlot Trail spans a third of a mile and was recently completed by the city of Charlotte as part of SouthPark’s Comprehensive Neighborhood Improvement Program (CNIP).
- The project is years in the making, Hilary Larsen, chair of the SouthPark Association of Neighborhoods (SPAN), tells Axios.
Why it matters: The new stretch of greenway, which includes a pedestrian crosswalk with traffic signals, makes crossing Park Road less harrowing, encouraging residents and visitors to make their way from SouthPark to the park or even the larger section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway spanning from NoDa to the South Carolina state line.
What they’re saying: You don’t realize you’re a few feet away from Park Road and its zillion cars, Larsen says.
- If you’ve been on or near Park Road, you know how loud it can be. I stopped by the new section of trail during rush hour and found Larsen was right. The hectic traffic melted away as I watched the sun dip behind the trees on the trail.
Details: This phase of the Backlot Trail cost $2.5 million and was funded by the SouthPark CNIP.
- The county provided the land and the city built the trail, Larsen says.
- The project included real estate acquisition, pedestrian crosswalks, traffic signals and the asphalt trail itself, which runs from Woodbine Lane and Park Road. Signs will ultimately direct trail users to the Cross Charlotte Trail (also known as XCLT) and to The Loop in SouthPark (a partially complete 3.2-mile urban trail).
- Future phases of the Backlot Trail will connect to the southern portion of the Loop. The trail will ultimately span roughly half a mile, connecting XCLT toMcMullen Creek Greenway near the Governor’s Square neighborhood off Carmel Road, Larsen says.
Yes, but: Future have not been funded yet.
- Of note: The Loop, which will include public and private funding in addition to funding from SouthPark Community Partners, will cost more than $35 million, Adam Rhew president and executive director of SouthPark Community Partners, tells Axios. The project does not have a timeline for completion.
What’s next: A ribbon cutting for the Backlot Trail is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24, at 11:45am on the trail on the east side of Park Road. You can park in the middle parking lot at Park Road and take the path toward the south side of the pond to the new crosswalk. Follow the balloons and signs.
Zoom out: Charlotte/Mecklenburg is working to improve its park score: 85 out of 100 U.S. cities, per nonprofit The Trust for Public Land’s annual report. Several segments of greenway and parks have opened or reopened in the last year, including Independence Park in Elizabeth, a new section of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and XCLT.
Take a look around the Backlot Trail.