Take this survey to help shape future of Clay Blvd

Sep 8, 2015 | Light Rail | 4 comments

Clay Boulevard plan

The University City Area Plan, Charlotte’s official planning guide for the North Tryon Street business district near Harris Boulevard, seeks to encourage urban development near the three North Tryon Street transit stations. Clay Boulevard is proposed for having 1-2 lanes of traffic in each direction, plus bike lanes, wide planting trips with shade trees, and buildings hugging the broad sidewalks.

How would you change J.W. Clay Boulevard through University Place to make it more pedestrian- and bike friendly? Charlotte planners want to know and invite you to share your ideas via a survey on SurveyMonkey through Sept. 15. Clay Boulevard is one of several streets near future light-rail stations that will get overhauls over the next decade.

Clay Boulevard streetscape details

The J.W. Clay Boulevard Streetscape project proposes to add sidewalks and bike lanes by widening parts of J.W. Clay Boulevard.  Sidewalks are currently in place in some stretches of this street; however, they will be upgraded to wider 8-foot sidewalks to meet transit guidelines.  The roadway and median width may be adjusted to allow for the addition of bike lanes.

The conceptual cross section includes four travel lanes with left turn lanes, bike lanes, curb & gutter, sidewalk & planting strip and street trees.  The project will include connectivity to the future Barton Creek Greenway that will run from the lake at University Place to Mallard Creek Greenway.

Project Benefits include:

  • Wider sidewalks, pedestrian refuge, bike lanes, wider planting strips, decorative lighting, and street trees.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle connectivity
  • Improvements for all modes of transportation – pedestrian, bicycle, vehicle, and transit
  • Improved connectivity to the Barton Creek Greenway.
  • Promote economic development by providing infrastructure to support and encourage transit supportive development.



The Clay Boulevard project is one of several that make up the Northeast Corridor Infrastructure Program (NECI). These projects seek to improve pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist access to the CATS Blue Line Extension, the light-rail line under construction between Center City and University City.

This investment will help implement station area plans along the Blue Line Extension and provide broader connections to other destinations like the planned Cross-Charlotte Trail and county greenways.

​Anticipated project funding

The Community Investment Plan approved by City Council in 2013 calls for voters to consider approval of funding for a number of infrastructure programs including NECI. Voting referenda will be held in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. For this project, if voters approve funding, City staff will engage the community to determine the details of what will ultimately be built. Once these details are known, the cost of the project will be estimated and published.

Learn more and get involved


  1. When will improvements be made on IBM Drive and Neal Road area, as relates to sidewalks and greenway access? I passed 2 children this morning a few minutes ago on IBM Drive, walking to school with no sidewalk, no curbing, just grass and the pavement with rush hour traffic a few inches away. Charlotte leaders ought to be ashamed of themselves for situations like this.

    • There is an important construction project that will begin this winter to construct a bridge over I-85 connecting IBM Drive to University Pointe Blvd. There will be significant investment in sidewalks and bike lanes in this project. In addition, UCP has been working to identify gaps in sidewalk infrastructure in both Innovation Park and Research Park. Where properties have developed and there are no sidewalks, we will submit a request to retrofit sidewalks for those sections. The city allocates about $7.5 million each year for sidewalk retrofit projects and UCP is ensuring all of our gaps that fit their parameters are on the list.

      In addition, UCP is actively talking with property owners to seek easements for the future greenways planned for this area. There are two future greenways in this area, the Doby Creek Greenway and the Doby Tributary Greenway. We have had good conversations with the two property owners for the Tributary Greenway and continue to work toward an easement. If we are successful, Park and Rec has committed to installing gravel greenways as soon as possible and add these to the next bond referendum to fund paving them. Our work on Doby Creek Greenway is not as far along, although we have reached out the property owners to begin the dialogue. We will keep the community informed of progress through our newsletter.

  2. We moved to University City 12 years ago to be near the university and its students. But, there is no connectivity to the campus from the outside world? There are 28,000 students here and hardly ever see them because the can’t get across Tryon Street. What a shame.
    The lake area by the Hilton is perfect for new development. Why are all the stores moving out? We need more retail that college kids would frequent… and some GOOD restaurants.
    It’s a great location and I hope you can do something wonderful with it. Right now, we just scratch our heads and wonder why it’s not good.

    Thank you,


    • Thanks for your comments! University City Partners has been working with the ownership of the Shoppes at University Place to envision the future of this wonderful place. This area is planned as the “town center” and main street for University City, and both UCP and the University believe there is great potential for development and repurposing. There is tremendous construction occurring on the edges of this development with the BLE. We are taking this opportunity to plan both the new streetscape that encompasses the Shoppes as well as transit station retail in the JW Clay parking deck and the future development of Shoppes. In addition, as part of the BLE project and in partnership with the University and the Hospital, there will be a pedestrian bridge that spans across Tryon Street at the station parking deck which we hope will encourage more students to come to this side of the community. The addition of more unique retail on the other side of Tryon will help with this.

      Several of the stores have relocated in University City. We are glad we were able to retain their locations in our community. There is no other way to re-develop an sizable property like this without some transition.

      The owners are working to add new and interesting retail. You will be delighted to know that a new restaurant will be opening on the lake called Toastery (formerly Toast). They are slated to open in the next 30 days. There is also a new and delightful bakery called Delish that recently opened near the florist. And, UCP is launching a planning initiative in partnership with the University to envision a student retail/activity center development that welcomes both students and the community.

      Great things are in store for the future!

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