The Comprehensive Transportation Plan for Matthews and Stallings, a $100,000 endeavor begun in 2012, is online at www.matthewsnc.gov.
Though the towns are in different counties, Matthews Public Works Director Ralph Messera said it makes sense to combine transportation efforts.
“People think of the southern towns as Matthews, Pineville and Mint Hill, but where transportation issues are concerned, we are more clearly aligned with Stallings because of our road network,” Messera said.
Stallings Planning and Zoning Administrator Lynne Hair agreed: “We’re in the same area and deal with a lot of the same transportation issues. Because our borders touch, it’s important that we work together,” Hair said.
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Messera said that having the plan in place will help guide development.
“This CTP lays out the vision of each major road in terms of the number of lanes as well as where to include pedestrian and bike lanes. When a developer comes in, he knows what he’s expected to do on any of these roads that front his property,” Messera said.
The creation of the plan included a citizen’s survey, several public meetings and the incorporation of statistics from traffic studies, census data and other sources.
According to survey results, 85 percent of residents commute to work by car.
Most of that commute is west to Charlotte, then back east in the evening. This pattern is mostly on U.S. 74, with spillover onto John Street/Monroe Road and other local roads.
The Interstate 485 outerbelt also is heavily used.
The study shows many residents want to avoid the U.S. 74 Independence Boulevard corridor and I-485 by using local streets. That causes overcrowded roads with delays in the town center of Matthews and along the main thoroughfares of Stallings.
South Trade Street in Matthews is an example of one of those shortcuts; the street is used daily by Mecklenburg and Union county residents to gain access to Monroe Road/John Street or Sardis Road.
Matthews commissioners recently approved the widening of a portion of South Trade Street from Fullwood Lane to the culvert just past the Matthews Athletic & Recreation Association fields. Though it’s a state road, commissioners said, the town needed to act to relieve congestion.
Matthews recently sold $5.5 million in transportation bonds at a 2.42 percent interest rate to fund the project.
Messera said the remainder of the road, from the culvert to the intersection of Pleasant Plains/Weddington roads, is on the short list for state funding.
He said the new CTP should help fund future road projects to benefit Matthews and Stallings. Procuring funding for state and federal projects will be easier if there is a plan, Messera said.
“If there is a point-allocation system, we will get a few extra points for having the plan, and also because the plan spans counties,” he said.
Much of the $100,000 for CTP development was provided by a federal grant covering 80 percent administered by the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (formerly MUMPO). Each town contributed about $10,000 to fund the remainder.
The Stallings Town Council approved the plan last year. The plan was put on the Matthews agenda for approval last month, but commissioners had a number of questions about placement of bike lanes and multipurpose paths.
Messera said Matthews staff will tweak the plan, possibly send it back for review and edits by the Matthews Transportation Advisory Committee, then bring it back to Matthews commissioners for approval at a later date.