Friday, November 17, 2006

7th Street anniversary

At this time of year it is appropriate to give thanks to the people who fought so hard for what we enjoy now. Like a three-lane 7th Street.

From a Nov. 8, 1985 Charlotte Observer story headlined Plan To Widen 7th Street Dropped:

Faced with neighborhood opposition, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission has backed down from its recommendation to widen 7th Street through the inner-city Elizabeth neighborhood....

More than 30 neighborhood residents, including city council member Pam Patterson, crowded into the commission`s meeting room to watch the vote. Over the past few weeks, residents had lobbied against widening the street`s four lanes. They complained that a wider road would split the neighborhood and destroy its character.

Planning commissioner Joe Griffin disagreed. ``I certainly don`t want to ruin Elizabeth,`` he said. ``But this is a chance to get another artery flowing into town. I`m in favor of doing it.``

City transportation planners told the commission that 7th Street will eventually need to be widened for safety reasons. Once construction begins on Independence Boulevard, they said, more traffic is expected on the street.

But, said Planning Director Martin Cramton, ``If we begin saying capacity and safety are more important than surrounding neighborhoods, we may as well kiss inner-city neighborhoods off. We need to make a strong statement in Charlotte.``
So thanks Pam Patterson (who still lives in Elizabeth) and Martin Cramton. And a big lusty boo to Joe Griffin. And while you're digesting your turkey, don't forget that there are many more Joe Griffins out there (especially at NCDOT), and they would dearly love to widen 7th Street so folks in Union County can get home faster.

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