When I started at Sustain Charlotte in February of 2019, I was living in Huntersville and commuting down to our office in South End. With one infant and two dogs at home, taking the 77-Express bus (while a fantastic option for those in North Mecklenburg County) proved to be too unpredictable and didn't provide me with the flexibility needed to get home to my family in case of emergency.
Having lived in Boston, carless, for 13 years, I was frustrated that my only plausible option to get to work was by car.
After three months of making the treacherous 45-minute drive on 77, I knew I needed a change. The housing market was good, and it was the right time to sell. I put the house on the market, and in early July, I made the move down to the Wilmore area, a half-mile from our new office space near Uptown.
My quality of life since moving within walking distance of my office has increased exponentially. I have the option to walk to work, hop on one of our many scooter options here in Charlotte, or take the light rail if I have an early morning meeting elsewhere.
I got lucky in a number of ways -- I'm lucky that I was able to find an affordable option for myself and my family in a high-density area that allowed for an easy commute. I'm lucky enough to have an employer who sees the value in incentivizing alternative modes of transportation in a very car-centric Charlotte by reimbursing employees who choose to lower their carbon footprint by getting out of their cars and commuting in another way. And I'm lucky that Charlotte is making it easier and easier for our workforce to get to work by means other than a car.
By encouraging the light rail extension, rerouting our bus routes to improve their efficiency, letting our employers know that commuting by car is undesirable, and utilizing other forms of transportation, we have a chance to uproot the car culture in Charlotte. Change can often come slowly, but I'm proud of the work we're doing together to make our quality of life better for residents in the greater Charlotte region.