Ty Cain lives in Olde Sycamore in Mint Hill, and to venture downtown he has to load the car up and drive the short trip, since the stretch on Highway 218 is too dangerous. He has the same problem even going to the Mint Hill Park at Fairview, only a mile or so from his house.
Cain is pushing for running/walking/biking lanes to connect the big neighborhoods of Mint Hill to the downtown area. Olde Sycamore, Plantation Falls, Ashe Plantation, Country Woods East, Cheval, Heathfield and Mint Lake Village are all among the neighborhoods that could benefit from peestian access to downtown.
Highway 218, according to Cain, has become a sort of de facto Monroe bypass for truckers coming off of I485 and heading south, allowing them to skip the traffic of Monroe. This has made Hwy. 218 that much more unwelcoming to bikes and pedestrians.
Cain started a Facebook page, WBR (walk, bike, run) Mint Hill, which started getting likes as soon as it went up, and at time of this writing, the page has 67 likes, all community members looking to improve pedestrian access from the neighborhoods in Mint Hill to downtown.
At the June Mint Hill Board of Commissioners meeting, Cain spoke to the commission about why they were needed and what he would like to see, saying that if he or residents of the neighborhoods in Mint Hill want to go downtown to get some pizza from Hawthorne’s or some ice cream from Carolina Creamery, they have to pack up the car and drive. A bike path would allow a family to enjoy a quick ride downtown, and provide an experience instead of just a commute.
“My whole idea is that a journey is as fun, or can be even more fun, than a destination,” said Cain. “So this whole thing about families riding bicycles together to get an ice cream at Carolina Creamery, it’s not about the ice cream, it’s not about that, it’s about getting together on your bikes, doing it together, the fresh air, the exercise, and that experience of riding bikes together as families.”
After speaking to the board, Cain got some positive feedback, and is going to continue pushing for the lanes, working on flyers to hand out, and planning to solicit local businesses for support.
Cain also hopes that the enhanced pedestrian access would drive more attendance to town events, like Movies in May and June Tunes, and would help support the local businesses downtown, and it would help to bring that sense of connected community to Mint Hill.
“Nothing looks better than people on bicycles living, breathing, walking people as pedestrians, walking up and down your streets,” said Cain at the Board of Commissioners meeting. “I believe that’s what demonstrates a sense of community, and since I’ve been in Mint Hill for 19 years, that’s what we’ve all been talking about.”
Moving forward, Cain hopes to continue to garner support for the project, and work with the town to survey traffic and other concerns on Hwy. 218 and other streets.