Transit lessons from Denver and Los Angeles

As Program Director at Sustain Charlotte, I love the opportunity to visit other cities during conferences to see how they're solving their transportation challenges. Join me as I share a few key takeaways from my recent trips to Los Angeles and Denver.

There's nothing sweeter than the smell of a freshly painted bus lane!

More people will choose to ride transit if travel times are fast and predictable.  When I visited Denver in mid-September, the paint was barely dry on the city's very first bus lane. In a recent Streetsblog Denver article, project manager Kristina Evanoff said, "It's about the reliability of transit, but also to prepare us for the future."

As a daily bus rider here in Charlotte, I would like to see CATS and the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) work together to identify areas where buses are frequently slowed by rush hour traffic congestion. Particularly in areas with high bus ridership, bus lanes could be implemented to significantly improve travel times!

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This newly painted lane in Denver gives buses priority.

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Charlotte's road to Vision Zero

Pedestrians and cyclists account for less than 3% of Charlotte's street users, but account for almost 30% of traffic fatalities.

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Pedestrians and cyclists are the most vulnerable users of streets. (image: CDOT)

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Walkability improvements coming to South End and West Blvd

Does the idea of bicycling or walking on South Blvd, South Tryon, or West Blvd at rush hour cause you to shudder? Or trying to cross when there's no traffic light within sight? Good news! The Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) recently completed four studies of heavily-traveled corridors (the other one is Parkwood Ave & The Plaza, which we've reported on here). They've made recommendations to improve the experience for people on foot and bike.

Read on to find out where you'll see new and better lighting, sidewalks, crosswalks, signalized intersections, pedestrian crossing signals, raised bike lanes, and more. We'll even tell you what a truck apron is (Hint: It's not the latest fashion accessory for your kitchen).

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CDOT recently completed 4 corridor studies. (image: CDOT)

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Action Alert: Our clean water is at risk!

Our clean water is at risk! We have to act now.

In 2015, commonsense protections for streams and wetlands known as the Clean Water Rule went into place. These safeguards protected the small streams that feed the drinking water sources for nearly 1 in 3 Americans. They protected wetlands throughout the South that filter pollutants from our water, absorb floodwaters and buffer our communities from storms, and provide habitat for countless wildlife. It was a no-brainer supported by millions of Americans and backed by science. It was a huge victory for our water.

But that is all at risk now.

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Proposed changes to the Clean Water Act would put drinking water and natural waterways at risk!

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Meet the Intern: Jamie identifies walkability challenges

Several talented high school and college students have partnered with us this summer as interns. We're grateful for their hard work and the skills they bring to our team's programmatic work and outreach efforts. Since sustainability is all about ensuring a high quality of life for future generations, we place a high priority on providing quality educational opportunities to our interns.

Today we're sharing the story of Jamie Lee. Jamie helped to organize and lead several walkability audits for our Walk2Transit project this summer!

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Our Program Director Meg Fencil (left) and intern Jamie Lee (right) worked together on Walk2Transit this summer!

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Finding hope and inspiration in Viet Nam

On my first morning in Saigon, the headline at the top of the local English newspaper caught my attention:  “Youth are partners in growth, not just beneficiaries.” 

Intrigued, I turned the page. 

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Huge win for Mecklenburg parks and greenways!

Thanks to the more than 2,000 of YOU who signed our petition, sent emails, and attended last night's meeting, the Mecklenburg County Commission has voted in favor of fully funding all of the remaining Park and Recreation projects that voters approved in 2008!

The Commissioners thanked the dozens of residents who showed up to demonstrate their support for parks and greenways. Resident engagement clearly made a huge impact on the outcome!

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Sustain Charlotte and six residents spoke in support of parks and greenways!

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Meet the Intern: Navami maps bus stop access

Several talented high school and college students have partnered with us this summer as interns. We're grateful for their hard work and the skills they bring to our team's programmatic work and outreach efforts. Since sustainability is all about ensuring a high quality of life for future generations, we place a high priority on providing quality educational opportunities to our interns.

Today we're sharing the story of Navami Jain. She has helped to bring the qualitative and quantitative data collected during our Walk2Transit project to life through visualizations. 

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Youth identify walkability challenges near Clanton Rd bus stops

More than 20 youth from the YouthQuake PBC summer program hit the streets with Sustain Charlotte and the West Boulevard Neighborhood Coalition's Equitable Transportation Team last week to identify challenging conditions for pedestrians and transit riders along Clanton Road near its intersection with West Boulevard. Although all of our Walk2Transit walking tours are family-friendly, this was the first one in which we purposefully partnered with young leaders to serve their community!

These junior advocates found a wonderfully walkable bus stop, but also some problem areas they'd like to see improved so that their neighbors can have an easier and safer pedestrian experience.

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Equipped with surveys and observant eyes, the youth found challenges and opportunities for pedestrians.

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Big changes ahead for Charlotte area transit network

We're excited to see the first proposed changes to the CATS (Charlotte Area Transit System) bus network! This first round of route changes is scheduled to roll out when the LYNX light rail BLE (Blue Line Extension) opens, currently scheduled for March 2018. These changes are the first phase of implementation for CATS' Envision My Ride initiative to redesign the bus network to better meet the needs of current riders and attract new riders. At their June 28 meeting, the MTC (Metropolitan Transit Commission) voted to approve this Bus-Rail Integration Plan.

When the original LYNX Blue Line opened on a weekend in 2007, bus route changes were rolled out on the following Monday. A similar plan will be implemented for changes to bus routes that connect with the BLE. A map of the proposed changes is available at the bottom of the Envision My Ride page. On that page, you can also view a short presentation of approved changes to bus routes that have already been implemented.

ProposedServiceChanges.JPGProposed changes to bus routes for the BLE opening

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