Last Monday's introduction of the upcoming Strategic Mobility Plan was the most important item on the agenda for City Council's Transportation, Planning, and Environment Committee. This mobility plan will not only incorporate existing plans like Charlotte WALKS, Charlotte BIKES, and Vision Zero, but it will be more intentional about how the integration of transit occurs.
All this could be just another plan if it weren't for the establishment of mobility metrics, setting mode share shift as a goal, and prioritizing the city’s investments to accomplish these items. Plus, progress will be measured to see if Charlotte is meeting those targets.
"Once we establish some of those metrics, let's hold ourselves accountable; ~ measure the progress, calibrate where we are investing.…..with the adoption of the 2040 Plan, the priorities should be straight forward and clear; the decisions we make of where investment goes should be completely aligned with it." - Ed McKinney, Deputy Director of CDOT
The opportunity to align, integrate, and honestly address the major conflicts and trade-offs that face Charlotte can't be overemphasized. Given the concurrent update of Charlotte's ordinances with the Unified Development Ordinance and the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, this is the moment to make a fundamental change to mobility and equity, which will increase the quality of life for all Charlotteans.
Currently 76% of trips in Charlotte are taken by people driving alone. This percentage is far too high for the city to remain sustainable as our population grows. It’s also an indicator of how difficult it is to safely and conveniently get around without a car.
Some of the most significant gains to reach the possible 2039 future goal of reducing drive-alone trips to 50% would occur in the Bicycle, Walking, and Transit categories. Achieving that goal would require not only transportation investments, but also using Charlotte’s land in a way that supports active and sustainable transportation choices. Working on and completing a Strategic Mobility Plan alongside the 2040 Comprehensive Plan is critical. It will guide future transportation policies, programs, and investments in projects for decades to come.
The planned CSMP (Charlotte's Strategic Mobility Plan) should cover all the ways we move around Charlotte including driving, walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation (buses and light-rail). The only way to accommodate the growth here in Charlotte is to have a comprehensive, integrated multimodal plan. Building more or expanding current roads alone will never solve the problem.
“We can’t build our way out of vehicular congestion, right? We don’t have the financial capacity or the physical capacity to actually do that.” - Ed McKinney, Deputy Director of CDOT
This proposed clarity and new goals around mode shift are HUGE! Having a mode share goal in Charlotte would be a game-changer for how Charlotteans move every day! Sustain Charlotte has already begun conversations with the City staff regarding similar goals. We will continue those conversations over the next several months. Stay tuned!