MATTHEWS – Matthews has one more hurdle to cross in its attempt to have a portion of the planned widening of John Street delayed, and Mayor Paul Bailey is confident the town can clear the last obstacle.
Bailey sent a letter to the N.C. Department of Transportation on Jan. 14 requesting the “Matthews portion” of the project be delayed. Bailey asked NCDOT to postpone the portion from Trade St. to 1-485 until other road projects near John Street are completed. Bailey also said in his letter the delay will give the town’s working group more time to work on design details for that section, including the “potential for a reduced typical section.”
NCDOT responded by telling the town that it needed to seek approval for the delay from the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization. Bailey told Matthews commissioners March 18 that the CRTPO has put the town’s request on the agenda for its meeting on April 17. If approved, the current 6.5-mile project would be cut into two sections. Section A would be the portion from Trade Street to 1-485, while Section B would be the portion from I-485 to Wesley-Stouts Road in Indian Trail. Matthews is only asking that Section A is delayed.
Bailey is lobbying the 25 voting members of the CRTPO to support the town’s request.
“So far, so good,” Bailey said. “I started with the towns in our area, Stallings, Indian Trail, Mint Hill. I think it is going to go well. I have several more to call, but I don’t think there is going to be an issue.”
The John Street Working Group had two meetings late last year and proposed a wide two-lane road with a large median in the middle with plantings. There would be parking on both sides. NCDOT is proposing a four-lane road.
If the delay is granted, the planned procurement of land would stop and Matthews would also then have more time to work with NCDOT on changing the project’s design.
“My intent is to work on a design with DOT that is more commensurate with what the small group came up with,” Bailey said. “It was a wide two-lane with some idea of parking on each side but having a large median in the middle.’’
Bailey said Stallings and Indian Trail are looking at designs different from the proposed superstreet and that Matthews will work with those communities.
“There is opposition in their communities as well for having a superstreet coming through,” Bailey said. “Stallings has got a designer to pull together some renderings of what they would like their downtown to eventually look like. They have done a lot of work on that. That is the drawing from the downtown area of Stallings. You still have that segment between there and 485.
“I think there will be a pretty good discussion, but of course our perspective is to have traffic come up from Stallings to 485 and be able to divert to 74 rather than come through downtown Matthews. But I think Stallings desires to see that setup in a manner that is more like a boulevard. Of course, that impacts all the rezoning along that corridor, as well. It is important to get some type of plan in place with DOT so that as developers come in, we can have them locate and put in the correct uses on that property.”