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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Want a safer West Boulevard? Join us March 21!

You're invited to a public workshop on March 21 hosted by the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) to learn more and share your input on the upcoming corridor study of West Boulevard. The study will evaluate existing conditions, identify deficiencies, and make recommendations to improve the safety and ease of walking and biking on West Boulevard between Camden Road and Billy Graham Parkway.

Since last summer, Sustain Charlotte has been working in partnership with the Equitable Transportation team comprised of West Boulevard neighborhood resident advocates for safer streets. 


We met with transportation agency staff from CDOT and CRTPO at our February meeting.

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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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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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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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Parkwood/Plaza Road Diet Discussed by Transportation Committee

Safety and budget concerns steered the conversation at the City’s Transportation and Planning Committee meeting on Monday. On the agenda?  CDOT staff responded to City Council questions about the draft Transportation Action Plan and our city’s first ever pedestrian plan, called Charlotte Walks. A draft of an updated bike plan, called Charlotte Bikes, was also shared.  

CDOT’s Norm Steinman spoke about the new aspirational goals included in the draft Transportation Action Plan including Vision Zero, becoming an 8-80 City and increasing the percent of residents who walk, bicycle, or take transit to work (see images below from Norm's presentation).

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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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Residents ask City Council for full road diet of Parkwood Ave & The Plaza

Your voice is making a difference! With guidance and technical support from Sustain Charlotte, many residents of Belmont, Villa Heights, and Plaza Midwood have advocated for more than a year to make their neighborhood streets safer. As a result, some BIG changes are proposed for Parkwood Avenue! Yet we share the residents' concerns that not enough will be done to protect residents, cyclists, transit riders, and pedestrians along The Plaza.

At the January 9 meeting of City Council's Transportation and Planning Committee, the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) shared their preliminary recommendations for Parkwood and The Plaza. Click here to view the presentation that the Transportation and Planning Committee saw.

A map of pedestrian and cyclist crashes with cars highlights the importance of acting quickly to make these streets safer for everyone who uses them. With the coming Cross Charlotte Trail and the CATS Blue Line Extension's Parkwood and 25th Street stations opening this August, even more people will be traveling along Parkwood Ave and The Plaza on foot and bicycle.


18 people have been hit by cars while walking or biking here in just five years. Two of them died.

The great news:

Following resident advocacy in fall of 2015, Charlotte City Council and CDOT acted quickly to begin a corridor study to take a technical look at the challenges and possible solutions in this area. CDOT conducted an extensive public engagement process including walking tours and workshops.

For Parkwood Ave, CDOT recommends a road diet with buffered bike lanes, new crossings and signals, and enhancing existing crossings. The project is estimated to cost approximately $2.5 million.

We're so encouraged by the Transportation and Planning Committee's desire to find a way to fund the road diet so it can be built quickly, rather than having to wait for the next bond package! The safety threats facing pedestrians and people on bikes are clearly too urgent to postpone the road diet.

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Volunteers prepare to embark on partnership with Lincoln Heights neighborhood

Are you looking for a way to not only better understand the sustainability needs of neighborhoods throughout Charlotte, but also partner with residents in a very hands-on way in support of their goals?

If so, the Sustain Charlotte Community Corps (SCCC) wants to meet you! 


The SCCC connects like-minded volunteers who support Charlotte neighborhoods!

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