Catch up on local plans at the MoRA Government Open House Wednesday, October 25

MoRA is again hosting our Government Open House on Wednesday, October 25 at East Mecklenburg High School, from 5:30 to 7:30. There are countless projects and programs planned for our area in southeast Charlotte, and this is the only place to catch up on all the changes coming to your neighborhood.

We open up governmental and non-profits providing updates from 5:30 to 6:30, including:

  • Monroe Road Advocates
  • NCDOT
  • CDOT/CATS/E&PM
  • GIS – Elections
  • Charlotte Neighborhood and Business Services
  • Charlotte Placemaking Hub
  • CMSWS
  • Preserve Matthews
  • Park and Rec
  • Solid Waste
  • Sustain Charlotte
  • Solid Waste

MoRA has invited multiple candidates up for election to talk with voters about their platforms.

We will update MoRA initiatives and projects in the area, ranging from the new sculpture adorning the corner of Monroe Road and Conference Drive, to plans to improve safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. We have updates on plans for the Rama/Idlewild/Monroe intersection, the Silver Line, sidewalk and bike programs, and the status of East John.

 

 

Improve safety with MoRA and Sustain Charlotte walking street tour

We know added traffic to Monroe Road is making our roads dangerous. Just this year we have seen fatalities to drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Last month, 71 year-old Barbara Dennis was killed while driving in front of Greylyn business park, due in part to someone driving 21 MPH over the speed limit.

There is simply too much speed, too many cars, too few stoplights, and inadequate pedestrian protection down Monroe. Anyone who has been up and down the corridor during rush hour can attest that simple improvements could make the area safer.

Different plans north and south of MoRA suggests traffic will increase significantly, with few improvements to our roads. Our volunteer group is determined to change that, and ensure that safety improves for all of our residents. We already have an overwhelming number of accidents in our area.

 

Your neighborhood deserves better, and you can help make it better starting this Friday, June 23rd at 5:30 pm.

MoRA is teaming up with Sustain Charlotte for a safety walking tour of Monroe Road. Meet us at McAlpine Creek Park, our starting spot before walking up to Sardis Road North looking for problem areas for drivers and pedestrians. This dangerous stretch covers the site of May’s fatal car accident in front of the Greylyn business park. We will cover the problem areas after the tour at either Custom Home Pubs or Mi Pueblo.

MoRA will use data from the safety walking tour to advocate improvements along Monroe Road. This is a great opportunity to support your community and stop preventable deaths on our roads.

New Art Tile-Making Workshops (Free!)

The Monroe Road Advocates have been working tirelessly for months to bring our biggest plan to life: a 16-foot tall sculpture that will define southeast Charlotte. We wanted to give neighbors a true sense of place that helps define where they live. For more information on the project, visit our art page.
Things were moving according to plan until the sudden passing of our friend and Art@thePoint’s creator and artist Leslie Scott. We plan to honor Leslie by bringing her last inspiration to life. Renowned Charlotte artist Lee Baumgarten will be seeing this project through to completion, but changes require more tile for the project.
Here’s your last chance to create tiles for the iconic Art@thePoint sculpture to be located at the “point” at Monroe Road and Conference Drive. Bring the whole family out to design, craft, and put your touch on tile that will go on the sculpture. This is a great, free project for all ages!
Dates:
Tuesdays and Thursdays  June 6, 8, 13, 22, 27, 29  (6pm until 8pm)
Saturday, June 17  (12-2pm)

Sign up using the following link: 
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/4090449a4a92fa4fe3-artthepoint
All workshops are held at Meridian Place, 6423 Monroe Road (between M Station and McDonald’s), on a first-come basis. Visit our Facebook events page for more updates, or to share which tile shop you are attending.
We are very close to our donation goal! One tax-deductible donation can make this sculpture a reality.

Will the Matthews superstreet make Monroe Road even more dangerous?

The Proposed Superstreet

If you have driven through Matthews recently, you have almost certainly seen signs against the proposed “superstreet.” Monroe Road extends past the MoRA area into downtown Matthews, the lanes cut in half, and the resulting John Street connects to 485. It is a guarantee you have been slowed down due to traffic.

There are plans to expand John Street into a superstreet, a setup that looks very similar to a highway. The group Preserve Matthews is concerned about the proposed changes, which they believe will needlessly increase traffic while ruining the small town feel of historic, downtown Matthews. If you haven’t been to downtown Matthews recently, you should check it out. You can walk between a bunch of great food destinations, tap rooms, bottle shops, and coffee roasters. They, of course, have a huge farmers market and there are frequently a bunch of festivals. I’m not sure what it will look like with a superstreet, but it may end up broken up like businesses on Independence.

Problems for Monroe Road

What’s most worrisome for MoRA residents is the potential increase in traffic brought about by the superstreet. NCDOT reportedly expects the superstreet to handle nearly 55,000 cars per day. Monroe Road already supports 40,000 vehicles per day, and increasing traffic up to 35% would cripple this residential connector. The city appears to think of Monroe Road as a mini Independence Boulevard that will accommodate overflow and passthrough traffic.

As a resident that uses Monroe Road every day I can already see the problems added traffic would create. Some sections have already proven dangerous. In just the last few months the street has seen a fatal car crash, both a pedestrian and cyclist killed by cars, and countless additional preventable accidents. This isn’t new. There were 393 total accidents along Monroe Road, Sardis Road North, Village Lake Drive, and North Sharon Amity in 2016. This resulted in 264 injuries and three deaths just on these few miles of Charlotte roads.

 

Monroe Road doesn’t need more traffic. It needs more traffic lights, better pedestrian crossings, and better turning lanes. The road should serve the community, not those passing through.

What You Can Do

The superstreet looks like the first step in turning the residential Monroe Road into a high-traffic throughway. Independence is only a mile away, and is clearly the best and fastest way to commute up and down the corridor. Why should surrounding streets serve the exact same purpose? If there’s traffic on Independence, cars will pour over to Monroe. The current traffic problems will only get worse, making it even more dangerous for residents to head to the store.

What can you do? Attend this public meeting on the John Street widening organized by Preserve Matthews. The more support they have, the better. Next, get your neighborhood in contact with MoRA as we look at ways to improve traffic, safety, and access along the corridor. Please fill out the following neighborhood survey if you want to help shape goals for Monroe Road.

The Neighborhood Bash is back with live music, food, and beer

The MoRA Neighborhood Bash is BACK and better than ever. This is definitely the top community event all year that you have to attend. Chat with your neighbors, take in some live music with your choice of drink, and enjoy some local foods.

It’s the best way to find out what’s happening in the area.

 

 

A lot has changed in southeast Charlotte since our last bash, and MoRA has even more plans for the future. Please join us on May 18th for this free neighborhood event, and bring the whole family (dogs included).

There will be food by Hawthorne’s Pizza and Common Market and local beers on tap. Live music promises some R&B, funk, pop, rock and a little reggae. There will be plenty of events and activities planned indoors and outdoors. Be sure to get there early.

Be sure to RSVP here and receive reminders about the bash. Want to get involved with MoRA but don’t know where to start? Email Dean Brodhag here and volunteer to help with the bash.

Free Wheelin’ Friday Bike Community Group Starts This Week

Whether it’s your first time biking to work, or you’re a regular bike commuter, there’s a new event getting started this coming Friday, May 12th, that’s just right for you. As part of Bike! Charlotte, the Free Wheelin’ Fridays bike commuter group is starting a new ride from a new spot – the brand spankin’ new Common Market at 4420 Monroe Road. The group will meet around 7 for FREE Common Market breakfast (brought to you by The Knight Foundation and Charlotte B-Cycle) and then head out around 8:15 to ride uptown.

We’re not saying you have to go to work but that’s the direction we’ll head anyway.

This is a great ride for beginners because:

(a) it’s pretty short (about 5 miles from Common Market to Center City),

(b) it’s a group ride, which is often more comfortable for new riders,

(c) our route will take mostly secondary or neighborhood roads, and mostly avoid busy or dangerous streets,

(d) we’re going to work, so we’re not in a hurry to get there, and we won’t leave anybody behind, and

(e) there will be some experienced bike commuters among the group who can help you with routefinding.

We hope to have a big group this Friday, and hope you’ll join us.

First look inside of Monroe Road’s Common Market Oakwold

We have been waiting impatiently for Common Market to open their new and nearby Oakwold location. Southeast Charlotte desperately needs a hangout place, and the quirky and colorful local market easily fills that need.

MoRA is excited.

We reached out to Common Market for info on their upcoming opening, and got a sneak peak at the new neighborhood hangout. They have made a lot of progress since we last saw it, and promise they are opening soon.

The cool custom exterior art is good to go! Common Market plans to have their grand opening in mid-May. If everything goes according to plan, they will start serving food next week, and serve beer and wine in two weeks.

The inside space looks inviting for early morning coffee and late night drinks.

 

The new bar will look out onto Monroe Road, and offer a slew of hard-to-find brews.

 

Finally, a place to get a great cup of coffee. Our only area options are McDonalds and chancing life and limb in the Cotswold parking lot for Starbucks.

You can really get the feel for Common Market from this covered outdoor patio. We can’t wait to try out the newest neighborhood hangout.

Cross Charlotte Trail’s Protected Bike Lane Update

Charlotte is making strides in becoming a safer and easier place to bike. There has been a lot of buzz about the Cross Charlotte Trail, which will run from Pineville through UNC Charlotte and to the Cabarrus County line once completed. We have previously spotlighted the Independence Trail project that will run through parts of MoRA and is in planning stages now.

The project that may be closest to becoming a reality will come out of the Uptown Connects Study. At a public workshop at 7th Street Public Market last night, dozens of people showed up for a first-hand look at the plans for this project. The Uptown Connects Study has looked at ways to connect Little Sugar Creek Greenway to Irwin Creek Greenway through use of protected bike lanes through Uptown Charlotte.

Protected bike lanes would provide a two-way cycle track completely separated from auto traffic by concrete or flexible barriers. Last night the City revealed that the proposed route of this protected bike lane would run along 6th Street (from Little Sugar Creek Greenway to around Johnson and Whales) and 5th Street (from around Johnson and Whales to the Irwin Creek Greenway entrance behind Ray’s Splash Planet). When completed, cyclists will be able to ride from Freedom Park all the way to West End neighborhoods like Wesley Heights without having to ride in traffic.

While this project doesn’t directly impact MoRA, its success could lead to similar projects elsewhere, perhaps making the Independence Trail a higher priority for the City.

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even a $20 tax-deductible donation will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that will make residents proud.

Art@thePoint Community Workshops

Art@thePoint is well on its way to becoming a reality for our southeast Charlotte community! 

So far, MoRA has raised more than 80% of the total $150,000 required through private contributions. You can help MoRA raise the final $20,800 for Art@thePoint by booking a private, sponsored workshop for your book club, faith group, scout troup, garden club, etc.  You could even host a night out for your friends and family, bring wine and food and make it a party. 

We also have free, public workshops available!  A public workshop is your opportunity to work with your neighbors, alongside public artist Leslie Scott, to create ceramic pieces and build mosaics for the community sculpture. You can invite up to 10 of your friends along too! Head to our website to sign up and choose the time and date that work best for you.

This is a unique opportunity to create a legacy and be a part of Art@thePoint.

Here are some of the advantages of booking a private workshop:

-3-hour private session dedicated to your group/organization of 20-60 people.
-Work directly with public artist Leslie Scott.
-Identify a specific area of the mosaic where the tiles that your group creates will be located.
-Personalize the area of your tilework on the Art@thePoint sculpture.

Be a pART and make your mark!  Here’s where you can get more info and sign up for a workshop.

 

Groundbreaking news

Groundbreaking on Monroe Road’s iconic public art project Art@thePoint

MoRA officials and partners break ground on Art@thePoint

We’re excited to announce a successful groundbreaking on the $150,000 community art project Art@thePoint, a collaborative sculpture that will define southeast Charlotte. “The sculpture will be an icon for our area, a source of community pride and a symbol of change and creativity,” said community artist and creator of the project Leslie Scott. The 16’ tall sculpture will be a landmark between East Mecklenburg High School, the Independence Library, and Meridian Place.

 

The excitement was overflowing at the corner of Conference Drive and Monroe Road during the groundbreaking last week, with members and reps from city council, legislators, Arts & Science Council, Hendrick Automotive Group, Charlotte Neighborhood & Business Service, Goode Properties, East Meck High School, McClintock Middle School, and Independence Library in attendance.

Emcee John Lincoln

 

 

The sculpture is over 80% funded, and MoRA is asking for your tax-deductible donations to help the neighborhood realize this dream. Collaborative class sessions are planned for children and members of the community to design decorative tile that will adorn the structure. Even a small donation of time or money can help you support the change in your neighborhood.

Please visit MoRA Art for more information on how you can be a part of Art@thePoint.

MoRA board member Dean Brodhag