Sustain Charlotte is at the forefront of advocating for cycling infrastructure in Charlotte.
Since 2011, the City has added over 90 miles of unprotected bicycle lanes, 55 miles of signed routes and 40 miles of greenways and off-street paths. This is laudable progress, but much more work needs to be done to connect these facilities and provide a network that allows Charlotteans of all ages and abilities to feel comfortable enough to use their bicycles for transportation as well as recreation. The data is clear: painting a stripe on the road to separate people on bikes from fast-moving cars and trucks is simply not enough. We advocate on behalf of protected facilities, as evidenced by our work below.
Sustain Charlotte helped coordinate the temporary bike lanes and placemaking activities at the Five Points Better Block. We were happy to serve as the liaison between Charlotte Department of Transportation and the Better Block team to facilitate implementation!
We focus on testing protected bicycle infrastructure in the form of demonstration projects to our events. During Biketoberfest presented by the Charlotte Knights, we partnered with Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT), Charlotte Center City Partners and Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation to host the longest protected bike lane demonstration in Charlotte to date! This lane on 6th Street stretched 2 miles through Uptown connecting the Little Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek Greenways -- a fulfillment of our #IBIKECLT campaign!
Volunteers paint bike crossings in Uptown!
Sustain Charlotte coordinated over 70 citizen volunteers and artists to focus on placemaking on the lane! They painted new green sections of road to increase crossing visibility, installed hay bales between the cones, and placed hundreds of plants and trees to act as barriers between bikes and cars. Artists volunteered their talents to create beautiful art on the lane, making cyclists more visible as they crossed driveways.
Traffic Circles for Open Streets, October 2017
We partnered with the team at Open Streets 704 and created two neighborhood traffic circles on the route. This particular traffic circle stands at the corner of Irby and James Drive just off Little Sugar Creek Greenway! These popular traffic calming devices slow cars and allows cyclists to transverse the intersection without deaccelerating.
In July 2016, Sustain Charlotte presented the first petition for an Uptown protected bike lane to City Council. We launched the #ibikeclt campaign. Because of our efforts, a subsequent #ibikeclt campaign, and over 4,000 petition signatories, CDOT is now moving forward on a design to connect Irwin Creek and Little Sugar Creek Greenways.
On June 12, 2017, CDOT staff presented the findings and recommendations from their Uptown Connects Study to City Council for review after a referral from the Transportation and Planning Committee, which included plans to design and build a protected bike lane on 5th/6th Street.
CDOT renderings of what a protected bike lane of what the protected bike lane that we have been advocating for could look like through Uptown.
The Protected Bike Lane Demonstration on The Plaza, April 2017
In May 2017, we partnered with CDOT again for the largest protected bike lane demonstration in Charlotte to date for Open Streets on a street in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood called The Plaza. This project was much larger than the previous demonstration, replacing one mile of curb lane in each direction with a protected bike lane for one week.
Additionally, we also connected CDOT to partners at Kimley Horn and Alta Planning + Design to create a temporary “protected intersection” where the protected bike lane demo crossed at Central Avenue and the Plaza during Open Streets. The protected intersection is the first of its kind in Charlotte and provides pedestrians and cyclists increased reaction times and visibility from drivers looking to turn right.
City Staff asked Sustain Charlotte to conduct intercept surveys, surveying cyclists as they used the temporary facility to assess public support. The initial analysis of this data has been overwhelmingly positive, with only one person of the 177 surveyed stating that they would not support any traffic delay from the addition of a protected bike lane on The Plaza. This vital information will be used by CDOT in their decision-making process for making this facility permanent.
Images from the protected bike lane demonstration project on The Plaza for Open Streets.
IKE, April 2016
Protected bike lanes speak up for people. At the 2016 Open Streets 704 event, Sustain Charlotte and community partners put together Ike, the demo protected bike lane with a face. Read more about this project from our blog post!