Completing the Urban Loop is going to help Greensboro become car optional, according to a report from the Greensboro Planning Department.

Every quarter the Planning Department releases an update on GSO2040 Comprehensive Plan.  The update is full of accomplishments associated with bringing the goals of GSO2040 to fruition – setbacks rarely if ever make the update.

The final segment of the 39-mile Urban Loop opened in January, after 56 years in the planning and construction process.  The Urban Loop is a North Carolina Department of Transportation project. The final section from North Elm Street to US 29 cost over $300 million to build.

The planning department appears to be taking some credit for a state highway project conceived in 1968 and mostly completed by the time GSO2040 was approved in 2020.

But what is more significant is how the planning department in the GSO2040 update turns a new interstate highway built so cars and trucks can travel around the city at 65 mph into an endeavor to make Greensboro “car optional” – one of the “Big Ideas” in the comprehensive plan.

According to the update, “Becoming Car Optional describes our aim to expand quality transportation options beyond cars and maintain an efficient transportation system that allows people and goods to travel throughout Greensboro.”

The Urban Loop was certainly not built for pedestrians, bicycles, scooters or skateboards.

But according to the update, “This momentous accomplishment helps advance the GSO2040 aim of Becoming Car Optional in a couple of ways. First, with the urban loop complete, the area takes a big step closer towards an efficient transportation system that allows people and goods to travel throughout Greensboro. Second, while the need to manage and improve traffic conditions on the areas highways will remain, the focus can continue to shift to constructing more sidewalks and greenways, improving public transportation, creating safer intersections and pedestrian crossings, enhancing way-finding systems, and improving accessibility for all users.”

There you have it, building a huge interstate highway to help move cars and trucks around the city faster is going to make Greensboro more car optional.