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.