October 23, 2023
Dear Council Members and Mayor Lyles,
I am writing to express Sustain Charlotte’s support for item 8 on tonight’s City Council Business Meeting Agenda: the Chapter 14 Ordinance revisions.
We are particularly pleased that the proposed revisions include adding illegal parking provisions and increasing fines for parking on sidewalks, bike lanes, and streetcar right-of-ways. These changes would make blocking pedestrian, bicycle, and streetcar access less attractive to drivers and thus safer for people not in cars.
They also move us in the right direction towards achieving our 50-50 mode-share goal, established in the Strategic Mobility Plan. If pedestrians or people on bikes encounter a parked car on the sidewalk or bike lane, they may then have to veer into a general-purpose lane, increasing their chances of an injury or fatality from a crash.
People who walk and bike in Charlotte are involved in only 3% of all crashes, yet they account for approximately 33% of all traffic fatalities. They are the most vulnerable users of our streets and, therefore, need safe conditions at all times. Creating safe corridors for people of all ages, abilities, and transportation choices will help our neighbors feel comfortable on our streets and more likely to use the infrastructure intended for non-car transportation.
It is just as important to ensure that bike lanes, streetcar tracks, and sidewalks are unobstructed by vehicles as it is to ensure that general-purpose lanes are unobstructed. Yet because the current fines are so low, there is little disincentive for car drivers to avoid parking in these areas.
We are grateful for all the work the city has done to help make Charlotte safer and more inviting for people who walk and ride bicycles. A “Yes” vote for this ordinance revision will help to ensure that the infrastructure to support walking and biking is safe and accessible for people of all ages and abilities.
Thank you for your service,
Executive Director, Sustain Charlotte