Protected bicycle lanes are coming to Charlotte – temporarily

(By Ely Portillo - The Charlotte Observer)  "Bicyclists will soon have a protected path through uptown Charlotte, with their own lane separated from traffic – at least for a week. The Charlotte Department of Transportation plans to close one lane to traffic on parts of Fifth and Sixth streets for a week, connecting Little Sugar Creek Greenway to Irwin Creek Greenway. The closure will last from Oct. 22 to Oct. 29. Charlotte City Council is expected to hear an update on the plan Monday at their dinner briefing. Sustain Charlotte and Charlotte Center City Partners are sponsoring the project, along with the city." Read more here 

Charlotte leaders question cost of bringing MLS to the Queen City

(by Caroline Fountain, Fox 46) "More than 1,300 people have signed a petition to get the parks they were promised nearly a decade ago. 'We're trying to give a voice to the Mecklenburg county voters who approved a bond package for a park and rec master plan in 2008. 13 of those projects haven't been built. So it's our position that those projects need to happen before the county make an investment in MLS soccer,' said Meg Fencil with a non-profit organization called Sustain Charlotte. The money from the City of Charlotte would come from a 3 percent hotel room tax. But we're told it's different for the county. 'The county does not have a fund for tourism-related investments whereas the city does have a hospitality tax for tourism-related investments,' said Fencil. Charlotte leaders will meet again to talk pro soccer on August 17. To view or sign the petition, click here." Read more here.  

Want more affordable housing in Charlotte? Start with parking

By: Shannon Binns Affordable housing is one of Charlotte’s most vexing problems. Because Charlotte is a car-dependent city, the problem of affordable housing is magnified by the cost of owning a car. Charlotte’s parking regulations act as a catalyst for the affordable housing problem in two important ways. First, Charlotte’s parking regulations require substantial amounts of off-street parking (i.e. parking garages) for apartments and condominiums, substantially increasing development costs. Second, Charlotte’s parking regulations do nothing to discourage the cost of parking from being “bundled” into the price of housing. Bundling the cost of parking into the price of housing hides the full cost of parking and shifts the burden of paying for parking to residents who choose not to own a car. It’s as if an invisible hand is pushing residents into car ownership to their detriment. It’s time to change course. Read more here. Continue reading

Looking for something fun to do with the kids? Try these festivals.

(by Liz Logan, CharlotteFive) "This coming up weekend, Charlotte has got some seriously good stuff going on — stuff the kids will enjoy and stuff you’ll find at least, well, manageable. No, seriously — they had me at “family friendly”. Charlotte rates 74th out of 74 cities when it comes to walkability, according to Sustain Charlotte‘s website. Yikes. Hoping to combat the city’s drab numbers, Sustain Charlotte has teamed with OrthoCarolina and #thesavageway to meander on foot, in the company of tons of other CLT residents, through the incredible neighborhood of FreeMoreWest — basically the neighborhood with Pinky’s. Walk from business to business for the city’s second launch of #walkCLT." Read more here.

Urban Exploration in the Queen City: Charlotte's Increasingly Awesome Trail Network

(by Rob Glover, RootsRated) "Whether you call it urban hiking or being a tourist in your own city, Charlotte is making it easier to ditch the car and explore the Queen City by foot. New miles of greenway and urban trail are being built every year, offering increasingly more opportunities to explore neighborhoods, walk to restaurants and bars, and make work commutes a whole lot healthier. As founder and executive director of Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit dedicated to creating sustainable communities throughout the city, no one is more in step with the benefits of an urban hike than Shannon Binns. "Walking rather than driving improves your physical and mental health, saves you money, reduces air pollution, and allows you to connect with your community," Binns noted. Among its many projects, Sustain Charlotte has launched #walkCLT, a program designed to encourage local neighborhood exploration on foot, and Way2Go CLT, an interactive app that "gamifies" walking and biking over automobile transit. The organization’s goal for 2017 is to reduce the number of driving miles in Charlotte by one million. Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Charlotte or a lifelong resident, there are many ways to explore the Queen City by foot or on two wheels. To get started, Binns has provided intel on several greenways and urban trails that link some of Charlotte’s most interesting neighborhoods, parks, restaurants, and breweries." Read more here.   

Whole Foods Market opens in Waverly

(by Grant Baldwin, The Charlotte Weekly)  "Whole Foods Market marked the official opening of its Waverly location this morning with a bread-breaking ceremony. Employees of Whole Foods Market and patrons present for the event broke large loaves of bread and shared them to commemorate the occasion. Whole Foods Market also presented a check for $7,180 to Sustain Charlotte. The money was raised via ticket sales for the BBQ, Bluegrass and Blues event the store hosted this past weekend. After the ceremony, patrons were let in the store to explore and shop for the first time." Read more here. 

Whole Foods celebrating Waverly opening with bluegrass, barbecue in support of Sustain Charlotte

(by CarolinaWeekly) "Whole Foods Market Waverly is celebrating the opening of the location with a barbecue and bluegrass music fundraiser in front of the store from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Proceeds will be donated to Sustain Charlotte, which works to ensure fresh and nutritious food is available in all neighborhoods. Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/bluegrass-bbq-festival-tickets-34236084049 for tickets. 'Whole Foods’ commitment to providing healthy food and giving back to the local communities where they operate makes them an ideal partner for us,' said Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte. 'We’re thrilled they are opening a store in a development that prioritizes walkability as well.'" Read more here.   

Charlotte’s light rail was supposed to change our attitude about cars. It hasn’t.

(by Ely Portillo at The Charlotte Observer) "Along the Blue Line, new apartments are springing up with bicycle repair stations, walking paths to light rail stations, direct connections to the Rail Trail path – and hundreds of parking spaces for cars. Most of the apartments along the Blue Line light rail and its extension north to UNC Charlotte have roughly the same ratio of parking as apartments in Charlotte’s car-dependent suburbs – about one parking space per bedroom. 'Those are the best opportunities we have right now to build less parking,' Shannon Binns, head of Sustain Charlotte, said of the sites developers have been buying up for top dollar next to the light rail. The $1.2 billion Blue Line extension from uptown to UNC Charlotte is set to open by March of next year. 'When we don’t maximize the land use around the transit investments, we really are undermining those investments. We’re allowing a lot of that land to be spent storing cars,' said Binns.” Read more here.   

In Charlotte, the Bechtler museum and Gantt Center are turning art viewing inside-out

(by Michaela Duckett at Qcitymetro)  "The Knight Foundation also has provided funding to support related programming in participating communities. Locally, the Bechtler museum and the Gantt Center are working with community partners to offer events and activities such as trolley tours, outdoor workshops for adults and youth, artist talks, musical performances and more. In addition, participating communities are being encouraged to create their own opportunities to motivate the public to get outdoors and engaged in talking about art. The first event is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, when Sustain Charlotte hosts a family-friendly cycling tour of new art installations in West Charlotte. The tour, guided by museum docents, will begin at 10 a.m. at Seversville Park and focus on the significance of the equity-inspired art pieces on display." Read more here. 

Whole Foods sets opening date for new south Charlotte store

(by Katherine Peralta at The Charlotte Observer)  "Whole Foods is opening its third store in the Charlotte area May 23 in the new Waverly development. On opening day, the new store at 7221 Waverly Walk Ave. will offer shoppers perks like discounts and product demonstrations and samples, the grocer said in a statement Thursday. Also to celebrate the opening, the Whole Foods is hosting a dog-friendly “Bluegrass and BBQ” music and food event in front of the store on May 20 from 4 p.m.- 7 p.m. All proceeds will benefit Sustain Charlotte, the grocer said." Read more here.