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30.6 mile cross-Charlotte bike trail may span to York County

The whirr of bike chains and snap of gear shifts should become more common sounds in parts of Charlotte in coming years.

That’s because the city stands ready to pump up Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s lagging trail network for bicycles. City transportation planners propose to help expand the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and two other greenways into a 30.6-mile bikeway from Cabarrus County to York County.

The Cross-Charlotte Trail, as it’s called, would advance the Little Sugar Creek Greenway from its northern point at Cordelia Park, near downtown Charlotte. The multiple-use trail would go through the NoDa arts and entertainment district, join the Toby Creek and Mallard Creek greenways in the UNC Charlotte area and pass south of U.S. 29 to the county line.

The city would build nearly 13 miles of bikeway in three segments costing $35 million. The money would come from bond issues in the next two years.

No timetable for completion of the city’s portion of the trail has been determined, said Dan Gallagher, city transportation planning manager.

But if voters in November OK the $146 million bond package containing $5 million for the trail, he said, design work could begin in early 2015. The city would also fast-track construction of a 1.4-mile segment along Little Sugar Creek from Woodlawn Road south to Tyvola Road. The remaining $30 million would be put to the voters for approval in 2016.

The project, a city and county partnership, emerged after discussions about creating a bikeway to span the city by stitching together existing trails with city money. City planners list the length of Cross-Charlotte Trail at 25.9 miles; that doesn’t count 4.7 miles in Pineville, N.C.

To accomplish its part, Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation is moving to complete 8.4 miles of Little Sugar Creek Greenway in southern Mecklenburg, including Polk Street to the South Carolina line, 3 miles, $5.3 million.