Rama Road, transformed

Readers invited to nominate places for urban makeovers 
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

PlanCharlotte.org is asking readers to nominate spots in the Charlotte region that need a design makeover. (See our first installment in this series here and our most recent installment here.)

Urban designers Keihly Moore and Alex Borisenko have launched a website, www.completeblocks.com, where they’re proposing a series of urban design retrofits, many of them nominated by readers.

The designs so far have provided new visions for Monroe Road, South Boulevard, as well as spots in Plaza Midwood, the Seventh Street bridge over Interstate 277, and a portion of South Church Street along the new Romare Bearden Park. This week, an elementary school gets an improved crossing and a road gets a revamp to add beauty and safety. (Note, these re-imaginings are not official city plans, simply ideas for consideration.)

This week's retrofit

Rama Road in southeast Charlotte links the Monroe Road/Independence Boulevard area to SouthPark. A stoplight marks the entrance to Rama Road Elementary School, but the road’s role as a cut-through and its four lanes can make walking and biking to the school a hazard.

Keihly Moore proposes turning Monroe into a two-lane road with a center-planted median that serves as a turn lane in spots where that’s needed. It’s a move commonly known as a “road diet,” and it’s often undertaken where safety is threatened or to create space for walkers and bikers. That’s what designers envisioned here, shielding pedestrians and bikes from traffic with a 4-foot planting strip buffer, and giving them an 8-foot multiuse path on which to travel.

For families getting children to Rama Road Elementary, there’s another bonus: An improved crossing that links directly into the school parking lot – not, as is the case today, into a telephone pole.