Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. We inspire choices that lead to a healthy, equitable and vibrant community for generations to come.  LEARN MORE

  • Featured post

    Walk2Transit volunteers hit the streets for better bus stops


    thumbnail.JPGWatch a clip of our Walk2Transit volunteers sharing their thoughts after our walkability tour. 

    44 new residents per day are joining Charlotte's rapidly growing population. But in spite of that growth, CATS bus ridership is declining. Why aren't more people choosing transit? A major reason identified by CATS CEO John Lewis is that the timing, frequency, and coverage of the current bus network isn't meeting the needs of riders. CATS' Envision My Ride initiative will address that problem through a major bus network redesign process, which we're keeping you updated on. Check out the first round of changes proposed for June. 

    Where are all the bus riders?

    But what about the experience of bus riders as they walk to and from stops? Sustain Charlotte's Walk2Transit project is an 18-month effort to identify, evaluate, and advocate for improvements to bus stops that are tough to walk to. 

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    Update on the new rules shaping Charlotte's growth!


    It's often missing from Charlotte's development process. If we expect to grow sustainably for decades to come, we must create a vision now of what growth should look like in different parts of the city. Both developers and residents need to have a clear understanding of that vision and how the zoning ordinance works to support it. 

    Why update our zoning?

    Development in Charlotte is anything but predictable. City Council handles mountains of time-consuming conditional rezoning requests each month. Our zoning ordinance is a massive and complex beast at 15 chapters. Contradictions even exist among all of the various development-related ordinances. Many projects being built throughout Charlotte are entirely inconsistent with area plans.

    Most importantly: "The current Zoning Ordinance does not adequately implement the community’s goals for smart growth and sustainability." (UDO website)

    The Unified Development Ordinance creation process was discussed at the April 10 Charlotte City Council Transportation and Planning Committee meeting. Charlotte's overhaul of its outdated ordinances related to development includes two key components:

    First, the Vision: Place Types define the places we want to create. 

    Second, the Implementation: The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) will establish the rules to create those places. 

    Moving towards a Place Types Palette


    A few of the many potential Place Types to be included in the final palette

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  • Featured post

    Big first month for Way2Go CLT!

    629,931 calories burned.

    $13,155 saved.

    12.6 tons of carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) kept out of our atmosphere.

    This is the impact we've made together in just the first month of the Way2Go CLT sustainable transportation challenge! And because a picture is worth a thousand words, we'd like to introduce our new friend, Way2Go Willie:


    He's also in it for the shameless bragging rights.

    Way2Go Willie loves to save money, reduce his contribution to pollution, and burn calories by making better transportation choices. He'll be helping us track the very real difference that your participation in Way2Go CLT is making each month.

    If this rad little cardboard dude isn't enough for get you excited about Way2Go CLT, then check out the top performing teams and individual prize winners for March!

    The March 2017 Way2Go winners are...

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    Two Huge Steps Forward for Two of Our Transportation Campaigns!

    Visible. Big. Iconic. If you were asked to describe current bike facilities in Charlotte, these probably aren’t the first words that would come to mind. But thanks to the thousands of you who have signed our #iBikeCLT petition and made your voices heard at public workshops, Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) has recommended a protected bike lane that will provide much needed connectivity through Uptown!  The future for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders on Parkwood Ave and The Plaza also looks much brighter thanks to new CDOT recommendations resulting from more than a year of advocacy by residents and Sustain Charlotte.

    In fact, bike and pedestrian issues dominated the conversation at City Council’s Transportation and Planning (TAP) Committee meeting on Monday.  Here’s a run-down and our take.

    Draft Charlotte Bike Plan Advances to Public Hearing

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    Reaching New Heights of Resident Engagement for West Blvd Study

    Residents from the West Boulevard Corridor neighborhoods steadily streamed into the very well-attended Kickoff Meeting on Tuesday evening to learn about the upcoming corridor study of the street that runs through the heart of their community. Staff from the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) guided meeting participants through a series of stations. The public was invited to share information about where people currently cross the street, where they want to be able to cross the street, and other mobility needs. 


    CDOT staff and residents discussed safety needs of pedestrians and bicyclists.

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    Stroll and Roll Plaza Midwood Petition Presented to City Council

    On Monday night, residents from the neighborhoods surrounding the Plaza Midwood business district presented a petition to City Council calling for bicycle and pedestrian improvements on The Plaza and Central Avenue.  Two residents explained to Mayor Roberts and Council Members the daily challenges facing residents as they attempt to walk, cycle or even use transit on this corridor.  

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  • Featured post

    Uptown Protected Bike Lane Moving Forward!

    Do you remember the petition we launched calling for a protected bike lane connecting the greenways through Uptown?  The one that more than 4,000 of you signed?  

    Well, your voices have made a difference!  On February 23, the 7th Street Public Market was the place to be to learn more about the future of Charlotte’s cycling infrastructure as Center City Partners and CDOT hosted the second public Uptown Connects workshop.  Cyclists of all ages and abilities, Uptown business owners, and interested community members alike came to get a glimpse at CDOT’s plans for an Uptown pilot protected bike lane. 


    Bikes parked outside 7th Street Public Market during the Feb 23rd Uptown Connects workshop.

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    Head of CATS identifies why bus ridership has declined and how we can reverse the trend

    CATS CEO John Lewis presented at Wednesday's monthly Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) meeting on ridership and fare trends. He acknowledged that bus ridership has declined and stated at both the beginning and end of his presentation that he believes it's largely due to CATS not fully meeting the mobility needs of its current and potential riders.

    "Many people spend an inordinate amount of time getting to and from work each day...We will bring back to the MTC a series of proposals that will get us to a targeted level of average trips [trip duration]. So if we accept that if an average trip is 90 minutes, what will it take to get it to 60? What will it take, from an investment standpoint, to get it to 45 or 30? And that will be a decision for the MTC to make. As ridership on our buses continues to drop, I think that is a result of us not meeting the needs of the community and mobility needs of our customers, and I believe that Envision My Ride will go a long way towards solving that," said Lewis.

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  • Featured post

    What we learned at the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

    Over the past 15 years the New Partners for Smart Growth has become the largest and most comprehensive sustainable communities conference in the nation. Two of our staff, Meg Fencil (Program Director) and Branyn Calegar (Community Outreach Coordinator) traveled to St. Louis for the 3-day conference and learned a lot about sustainable growth!

    Here are some key principles that we think Charlotte would benefit from:

    Demonstration projects are powerful!

    We arrived just in time to visit the final hour of a demonstration protected bike lane hosted by St. Louis' local sustainable transportation advocacy organization Trailnet. Charlotte should continue to invest in demo events like Open Streets 704 and protected bike lane demos because these are powerful tools that allow the public to really experience how our streets could be used differently to benefit all people. Of course, it's important to not let the demonstration become and end in and of itself. A good demo project is a step towards building public support for a more permanent solution.

    Trailnet's demo bike lane used simple, colorful materials to provide cyclists with separation from cars.
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  • Featured post

    Sustain Charlotte Asks Charlotte City Council to Take Urgent Action Regarding the Safety of Parkwood Ave. and The Plaza

    Dear Mayor and Members of Council:

    In solidarity with the Villa Heights, Plaza Midwood and Belmont neighborhood associations, and consistent with existing city policies, Sustain Charlotte respectfully requests immediate safety improvements to Parkwood Avenue and The Plaza (from Davidson Street to Matheson Avenue) as requested in the petition that was presented to you at your meeting on November 23, 2015.  

    In addition, due to the clear and present risk of death or serious injury for residents who travel by foot, bicycle, and car along this corridor and the fact that fifteen months have now passed since this petition was presented to you, we ask that you allocate funding for construction in the city’s budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, and the improvements be completed no later than December 31, 2017. 

    Further delay will result in additional loss of life and/or serious injuries to our citizens.   

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