2023 Impact 704 Academy Session 3: A recap

During the third and final session of our 2023 Impact 704 Academy series on Thursday, attendees learned all about the importance of transportation choices for the health and vitality of our community. 

Sustain Charlotte Director of Engagement and Impact Meg Fencil set the stage for the evening, reminding participants that streets are our largest shared space. 

“Transportation choices are about having infrastructure on the ground that includes buses and bike lanes, sidewalks and signalized crossings.” 

She also spoke about the importance of growing our mobility in line with the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, which calls for things like increasing the share of households and jobs within safe access to high-performance transit stations, increasing safe and connected bike infrastructure, and providing more pedestrian crossings along thoroughfares. 

Next, Ed McKinney, deputy director of the Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) gave a presentation on the city’s mobility vision, which is founded on equity. 

“We’re trying to build an equitable place that is about upward mobility,” he said. “It’s not just about one transportation project or rezoning or land use decision…it’s about connecting people in affordable and equitable ways.”

CDOT is responsible for both long-range planning and day-to-day building and maintenance of roads and traffic signals and signs. 

Currently, CDOT is working with Community Area Planning, to address land use and transportation connections. Ed encouraged people to actively participate in the planning process. 

Meg also pointed out that advocating for funding is an important action we can take, especially with lots of federal funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

“The cost of doing nothing is going to put us in a very unsustainable situation,” she said. 

Next, Jason Lawrence, chief planning officer for Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), spoke about the department’s long-range plans for managing growth and providing mobility options. 

He shared an overview of Envision My Ride, the planning initiative to increase the reliability of the bus system. This currently serves as a framework for service throughout the region.

Jason also talked about improvements CATS is working on to improve the user experience, like more amenities at bus stops, working with Mecklenburg County to improve connections with the greenway system, and increasing benefits for transit operators. 

Finally, attendees were invited to participate in a panel discussion with the evening’s speakers, who were joined by Gerry Kingsley, community advocate and cyclist, and Patricia Campbell, Far East Charlotte resident and community advocate. 

They engaged in conversation on topics like building transportation infrastructure, growth in the city, obstacles to transportation investment and creative solutions. 

Thanks to everyone who attended all or part of our Impact 704 Academy. If you missed a session or two, you can watch video clips of the presentations here. Here are replays of the CATS presentation and the CATS mobility vision

We are already looking forward to hosting another round of this program in 2024 and hope to see you there! 


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  • Lauren Sawyers
    published this page in Latest News 2023-12-15 15:49:42 -0500