Waxhaw plans for changes to N.C. 16 corridor

WAXHAW – A newly completed development plan for the Providence Road/N.C. 16 corridor recommends adding secondary roads off Providence to alleviate traffic on the major thoroughfare.

Monica Holmes and her team from the Lawrence Group have spent the last 18 months working with commissioners and residents in Waxhaw to plan for future development and population growth in different areas of town.

Their latest plan, which focuses on the Providence corridor from Waxhaw Highway to Bonds Grove Church Road, recommends adding connector roads to cut down on the number of trips residents take onto Providence. The additional infrastructure would allow people to run daily errands, like taking their children to school and shopping, without having to contribute to the most congested areas of town.

The plan, like the others in downtown Waxhaw and the surrounding areas, is not set in stone and only acts as a guideline for the board of commissioners and town staff as they move forward.

“(We spent our time) looking at these roads to solve one of the large issues in Waxhaw, and that is transportation,” Holmes said. “… If things are connected you are able to get (to multiple locations in the town) without having to go on (N.C.) 16.”

Many developments and shopping centers in Waxhaw have one way in and one way out, which is something the town should try to avoid for future projects to spread traffic around, according to Holmes.

The Lawrence Group also accounted the future widening of Providence Road into their plans, although no date for the widening has been set at this point.  As the widening occurs, Waxhaw leaders should work with the North Carolina Department of Transportation to bring easy methods of travel for bikes, transit and pedestrians to the community, Holmes said.

“If you want something different from the NCDOT (standard) you need to get your plan in place now. …They are willing to work with you,” she said.

Another main focus of the plan is land currently zoned for commercial development that fell to the wayside when the economy tanked in 2007.  Much of the area along Providence zoned for commercial has been developed partially or not at all, but developers can start those projects at any time after receiving permits. Rezoning and use issues have already been resolved, but could come back up if developers try to change what projects would go on their land post-recession.

Holmes said her team doesn’t see many of the proposed developments happening any time soon, and in some cases not at all.

“We have heard from people that you are open to diversity,” Holmes said in regards to questions about future development including commercial development, residential development and even apartment complexes and town homes in the area.  “We really see the biggest opportunity in senior living, apartments and higher density along the corridor,” she added.

With the plan complete, Holmes said it’s time for Waxhaw leaders to update the five-year comprehensive plan, which the state requires towns update every five years. This N.C. 16 plan lays the groundwork for them to do just that.

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