Transportation experts share advice on growth + mobility challenges

Ask a resident of Greater Charlotte what issues they see within our region, and you’ll likely get traffic or transportation as a top answer. Last week we brought together a panel of transportation experts from local government and the private sector to discuss the mobility challenges we face, and some potential solutions. Continue reading

Why Charlotte needs new development rules and what Sustain Charlotte is doing

The City of Charlotte is in the process of overhauling the regulations that govern land use, zoning, planning, and development in our community. While the city has changed dramatically since 1992, the zoning codes have not been fully updated since then. The current rules contain hundreds of amendments that have caused the document to swell to over 830 pages of text and 109 separate zoning designations. There are separate ordinances for different topics that often result in confusing and even contradictory guidelines.  Currently, the rezoning process is primarily handled on a "conditional" basis, which is cumbersome and time-consuming, as each rezoning is handled on a case-by-case basis and exceptions are regularly made to the approved rules. Charlotte’s current zoning rules aren’t adequately supporting the type of development that aligns with the city’s own vision for growth. So the Planning Department is creating a better way forward. The new set of rules that will govern development is referred to as the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). It aims to bring together all the planning, zoning, and development codes into one unified document with clear rules that are easy to navigate for developers and community members alike.  This process began in 2013, but little progress has been made over the past five years. We wrote this editorial in December urging the City to make this a higher priority in response.   Photo courtesy of PlanCharlotte.org Continue reading

Get There CLT!

Sign the statement of support asking Charlotte and Mecklenburg County leaders to invest in transportation choices! Continue reading

Many growing cities are building better bus networks. Will Charlotte be next?

Update: CATS has extended the public comment period for Envision My Ride through May 4th. As the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) public comment period on the proposed map for the Envision My Ride bus network redesign draws to a close this Friday, April 6th (get your comments in!), we're taking a closer look at why cities around the country are making major changes to their bus networks and the results they're seeing.  Why the CATS bus network is overdue for a redesign Some CATS bus routes have remained virtually unchanged for decades. Over that time period, patterns of housing, employment, and travel have changed dramatically. CATS is using the following standards to determine what constitutes an optimal bus route: density, linearity, walkability, and proximity. CATS' criteria for a good bus route (image by CATS; click to view full pdf) Continue reading

City Council Environment Committee Unanimously Approves Cost-Share Program to Fund Stormwater Repairs

The City Council Environment Committee voted unanimously to approve a cost-share program to fund certain stormwater repairs. The Environment Committee met earlier this month to discuss the growing backlog of stormwater repair requests and the need for the cost-share program. Continue reading

The Charlotte Family Bike Guide

Do you want to go biking around Charlotte with your family? Don’t know where to start? We have assembled all the need to know information in one handy source — the Charlotte Family Bike Guide! Big thanks to the Oregon Metro for generously donating their template to Charlotte for our use. By working with the City of Charlotte Bicycle Advisory Committee, we have customized this document for the needs of our City. From general information on child helmet safety to greenway maps and bike shop information, The Charlotte Family Biking Guide is your all-in-one spot for information! Check it out here!

City Council seeks clarity on zoning ordinance process

At Monday's City Council Transportation and Planning Committee meeting, members asked Planning Department staff a lot of questions about how the Unified Development Process is going. Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba, who has only been in his role for a few months, admitted that the UDO process is long, complicated, and overdue. He said, "Our ordinance and policy documents have not really been consistent." This slide from the meeting shows the relationships between various groups working on the UDO. Continue reading

Greenways are vital to our growing community

Over 100 people came out to Resident Culture Brewing for our second Grow Smart CLT event, proving that green space is a priority for Charlotteans. Our panel discussion centered around how green space is impacted by, and plays an important role in a growing city like Charlotte. Panelists were: Michael Dunning (Shook Kelley) Lee Jones (Mecklenburg Co. Park and Rec) Reed Perkins (Queens University) Adam Raskoskie (Partners for Parks) Rick Winiker (Greenways for Mecklenburg)   Photo credit: Greenways for Mecklenburg Continue reading

The Blue Line Extension is open. What's next for public transit?

If you followed our BLE opening adventures on Friday, you may have noticed that we were pretty excited. Okay, really excited.  We talked to dozens of transit riders who shared their #ridethattrain stories with us!  Transit riders shared how a better transit system will help them navigate Charlotte! The opening of the BLE was the culmination of decades of planning and hard work by our local transportation & planning staff and elected officials. Such a massive project doesn't reach completion without vision and commitment. We thank everyone who made it happen.  Aligning the bus network with the new Blue Line Extension On Monday, CATS implemented their Bus-Rail Integration Plan. Changes were made to over 20 bus routes and 700 bus stops. Check out the customer info booklet for details about new, discontinued, and changed routes and stops.  Continue reading

Cycling activists are creating change through Shifting Gears

On February 28th, Sustain Charlotte hosted the first Shifting Gears public action workshop of 2018, where close to 60 people discussed ways to propel cycling in Charlotte forward. The goal was for every participant to leave the event with one action item and one community contact to help them make progress toward their goal before the next Shifting Gears meeting! Continue reading