CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Like an Alice in Wonderland fun house, the sidewalk on the west side of Graham Street between Bank of America stadium and MLK, Jr. Boulevard shrinks from a normal width to about 15 inches. The skinny sidewalk has been here for years, decades even. But now, it's getting a serious second look from people who live and work Uptown. Jon Silla's worked in the area for 25 years. He says, "It's very dangerous. I'm really surprised that it was never fixed."
Construction on nearby Knights Stadium has re-routed more traffic down Graham Street. And when the ballpark opens, Uptown resident Terry McFadden says, "Families with children and children running out in the way, that's what concerns me."
McFadden has been crossing this street for 17 years. "In the last six months, it's become treacherous," he says. He asked the Knights stadium architect about it. He supposedly said, "state road, not our issue." Jennifer Thompson with NCDOT says, "This is a city project and the contractor has to make pedestrian access safe, even though Graham is a state road, we are not building the stadium."
The Knights tell us in part, "Provisions for pedestrians around the construction site are addressed by both the NCDOT and the Charlotte Department of Transportation. The Knights have done everything asked by NCDOT and CDOT."
And Linda Durrett with CDOT says, "CDOT recognizes that it would be preferable for a wider sidewalk there. That would take a joint effort between all three agencies. Currently, there is no City funding available since a Capital Improvement Budget has not been passed."
With no one taking responsibility for the skinny sidewalk, McFadden worries it'll take someone getting hurt or killed for it to get it fixed. "That's my concern," he says.
As for the obvious (why not walk on the other side of the street), McFadden says it's easier said than done. He says, "No one's gonna walk a block outta there way when they can take a straight line and go across the street."
Duke Energy owns the property that butts up to the skinny sidewalk. They'd be one of the previously mentioned three agencies, along with the city and state, to get the sidewalk widened.