Local teens lead rally for climate action

We were thrilled when we heard that local teens Kate Harrison, Lucia Paulesen, and Logan Rackowitz were planning a rally as part of the global student strike for climate action. These young leaders see the threat posed by our rapidly changing climate, and are pushing our elected leaders to do something about it. We attended their rally, held in solidarity with student climate rallies around the globe. Here's a look at the event. Continue reading

CATS shares big plans for transit expansion

We’ve been talking a lot recently about the newly approved Silver Line alignment. Last week, Sustain Charlotte members heard more details about the 2030 Transit Plan from CATS CEO John Lewis and transit planner Jason Lawrence at our March Grow Smart CLT event. Continue reading

Uptown Cycle Track Coming To Charlotte Sooner Than We Thought!

We have some exciting news!  We are proud to share that the first half of the Uptown Cycle Track is going to be built a lot sooner than any of us thought -- i.e., IN TWO MONTHS, and in time to be explored by YOU for Bike!Charlotte Week and Shifting Gears! Continue reading

Why we support Charlotte's new guidelines for development near transit

Sustain Charlotte has been serving on the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Advisory Committee since 2017, providing a voice for smart growth in the Charlotte community, and raising up solutions for how our community can continue to grow while staying sustainable. Over the past year, we have been providing input on a total re-write of the city’s Transit-Oriented Development Ordinance, which are the rules for development that occurs in areas adjacent to our rapid transit stations. We spoke at the Charlotte City Council meeting in support of the ordinance, and sent a letter to the Council prior to the meeting, asking them to approve them. Read the full letter below. Continue reading

Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan Comes to West Blvd!

The Charlotte Planning Department kicked off their public engagement events on Tuesday, March 5th at Mount Sinai Baptist Church on West Boulevard.  Planning staff and Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan consulting firm MIG led a nearly 2 hour presentation after introductions by Charles Thomas with the Knight Foundation, and Charlotte's Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba. Continue reading

5 ways to make Charlotte safer for pedestrians

A few weeks ago, we shared the bad news that pedestrians who are older adults, people of color, and people walking in lower-income areas are at higher risk of being killed in collisions. At least 6,227 pedestrians were killed in traffic last year in the US. A report by the Governors Highway Safety Association cited alcohol use, unsafe infrastructure, increased use of smartphones, and increased ownership of SUVs (which strike higher on the body and are more likely to cause serious injury) as factors for the increase.  But there's good news, too! Today we're taking a closer look at State of Place's list of ways to make streets safer for pedestrians and considering how they could be implemented in Charlotte.  Continue reading

Expanding Pedestrian Connectivity in North End

Charlotte's North End has the lowest street connectivity index and sidewalk availability for areas surrounding Uptown Charlotte. Gaps in the sidewalk network and lack of crosswalks put people in danger and prevent them from walking and biking. Sustain Charlotte is working with the North End Community Coalition to calm traffic and make the community more walkable and bikeable. This area spans 8 neighborhoods: Graham Heights, the Park at Oaklawn, Druid Hills, Greenville, Genesis Park, Lockwood, J.T. Williams and Brightwalk at Historic Double Oaks.   Continue reading

3 ways the city is improving development and street safety

What is Charlotte doing to plan for a sustainable, safe, and walkable future? Lots! The Transportation and Planning Committee meeting on Monday, Feb. 25th focused on three ways the City is moving towards that goal. They received updates on the Charlotte Vision 2040 Plan, Transit Oriented Development Districts, and Vision Zero.  Continue reading

Pedestrians are dying at record numbers on U.S. streets. Who's most at risk?

The new Dangerous by Design report by Smart Growth America reveals some grim statistics about the upward trend in nationwide pedestrian fatalities. Not only are these fatalities on the rise, but they're also disproportionately killing people of color, older adults, and people walking in lower-income communities. The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metro area ranked 33rd most deadly for pedestrians among the 100 largest metros in the United States. Within our defined metro area, 359 pedestrians lost their lives between 2008 and 2017. That's a fatality rate of 1.51 per 100,000 people. On City of Charlotte streets alone (excluding interstates), a record high 27 pedestrians were killed in 2017. That record was again broken in 2018 with 28 fatalities. The City of Charlotte set a Vision Zero goal in 2017 with the approval of the Transportation Action Plan. What would it take to have no traffic deaths or serious injuries in Charlotte by 2030? Along with taking action to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, it's also very important to understand the data about who is most vulnerable. Keep in mind that the data presented below is from the national Dangerous By Design report, and trends in Charlotte are slightly different. People of color are killed at disproportionately higher rates while walking (national data). Continue reading

Letter to Metropolitan Transit Commission Regarding Silver Line

This coming Wednesday, February 27th, the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC, which is CATS' governing body) will vote on moving forward with an update of the 2030 Transit Plan. While we are thrilled that plans to dramatically expand bus and rail service are moving forward, we are concerned that the CATS staff recommendation to bring the future LYNX Silver Line light rail through the North End of Uptown (first image below) rather than under Trade Street (second image below) would provide less pedestrian access to the heart of Uptown and would likely have lower ridership. TransitCenter, a national transit research organization, shares our concerns about the recommended alignment for Center City. Given this, we are recommending that both the North End and Trade Street Tunnel options be carried into the next phase of engineering. Further analysis would help to clarify some of the "unknowns", including the complexities of the tunnel option. The North End alignment would bypass the Center City core. (image: CATS)   The Trade Street Tunnel would provide direct access to the Center City core. (image: CATS) Continue reading