State of the Greenways
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Whether you're on two wheels, two legs or even four, Charlotte's greenway system is blossoming into a major attraction. One woman exclaims, "It's a great walk!" A man riding his bike says, "It's a wonderful place to get away from it all."
Our well-loved system, envisioned in the 80s, is funded mostly through county bonds and partially with grants. There are currently 37 miles of greenway in the county. Plans call for 185 miles.
Park and Rec Department Planner Gwen Cook says, "So we've got some work to do but if you can just imagine all the greenways in place and being able to just go to many different places and leave your car behind!"
Cook says the system is used not just for exercise and recreation but also commuting to work. She says within the state, Raleigh has more greenway miles but ours, in particular Urban Little Sugar Creek Greenway, is more innovative. Cook says, "I hear that they're (Raleigh officials) visiting us quite often to see Little Sugar Creek Greenway."
Park and Rec doesn't know exactly how many people use our system but it does know Four Mile Creek Greenway in south Charlotte is the most popular. Officials also know only 1% of crime in the county happens on park property. "There are some car break-ins. 99% of 'em are because they're (electronics, wallets) sitting on the front seat or their car is actually unlocked," says Park Operations Superintendent Greg Clemmer.
He says the greenways are busiest between 4 and 7 PM during the week and weekend mornings. "We schedule and pay for off-duty (officers) to be on the greenways during the peak time periods to make sure everyone is safe," says Clemmer.
Late this fall, construction on an access trail on the Four Mile Creek Greenway will be complete. It'll connect people to the Streets of Toringdon shopping center in Ballantyne.