By Steve Harrison and Gavin Off (Charlotte Observer)
Shannon Binns is the executive director of Sustain Charlotte, which lobbies the city for more spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. He said it's good that CDOT will respond directly to people asking for crosswalks and that his organization has taken advantage of that by mobilizing residents so they are heard.
"But the process also needs to be data-driven," he said. "Neighborhoods shouldn't be forgotten."
Though the city said it tries to be equitable, some thoroughfares and neighborhoods are missed. The city's pedestrian program receives $7.5 million a year, which has been unchanged for at least a decade, even as the city has grown by 150,000 people.
In its Charlotte Walks program, which aims to make the city safer for people walking, the city acknowledges it has large hurdles, with hundreds of miles of thoroughfares missing sidewalks, not enough crosswalks and poor lighting. Most of the city was built for cars and with few accommodations for pedestrians.
That could change in the next fiscal year, which begins in July. The City Council has approved a budget that doubles the amount spent on sidewalks over the next two years, from $7.5 million to $15 million.
Binns praised the city's plan to spend more money on pedestrians, calling it a "game-changer."
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