Charlotte’s looking at giving bicycles their own, protected lanes on these streets uptown

(Ely Portillo, The Charlotte Observer) The city of Charlotte is considering adding protected bicycle lanes – in which the bicycles are protected from cars by a physical barrier – through uptown. City Council’s transportation committee heard a presentation from city staff about the plan at their meeting Monday. The protected bicycle lanes would run east-west across uptown, linking existing greenways on opposite ends of the city’s center, and would be the city’s first such lanes. One would run along Fifth and Sixth streets, while one would run parallel to Stonewall Street from Bank of America Stadium to Pearl Street Park. Sustain Charlotte has been promoting the idea of protected bicycle lanes, which are safer for bicyclists, in the hopes of encouraging more people to get around by bike. One of the main reasons people give for not biking as much as they say they want to is a lack of feeling safe on the city’s busy streets. Click here to read the full article.   

Charlotte Today Segment: Ways to drive less

(WCNC's Charlotte Today) Meg Fencil with Sustain Charlotte talks about how to get around Charlotte on WCNC's Charlotte Today! Click on the image below to watch:  

Can changes drive ridership for Charlotte transit?

(by Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal) Bus ridership in Charlotte declined by 13.3% during the five-year period spanning fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2016. And, through the first seven months of fiscal 2017, the number of local bus riders dipped by 6.7% compared with the same period a year earlier...The main reason, or reasons, for the decline will be learned as part of the “Envision My Ride” campaign, which includes extensive transit rider surveys. To date, 1,000 surveys have been collected, with much more back and forth between CATS and its customers to come. By summer, CATS hopes to finish the framework of a revamped bus network. Even hard-core transit backers acknowledge the need to make buses more reliable. Shannon Binns, executive director of advocacy group Sustain Charlotte, referred to Federal Transit Administration data showing local combined ridership fell by 8% in calendar year 2016 despite an influx of young professionals and apartments. “Fewer residents are riding transit now than in the depths of the Great Recession,” Binns said. “It’s no wonder — long commutes and multiple transfers are the norm. Buses carry 80% of transit riders, but on many routes, they come infrequently and lack connections to other transit modes.” Click here to read the full article. 

Driving alone? Way2Go CLT wants to change that

(By Mary Newsom, UNC Charlotte Urban Institute If you’re like most people in the Charlotte area you drive a lot, and most of that is alone. Now a new initiative is encouraging people to try to limit those single-person trips by car. Sustain Charlotte, a local nonprofit that focuses on solving the city’s sustainability challenges, has launched an effort until Oct. 31 to try to get people to find a different way to travel for 1 million miles worth of trips.In addition to helping lessen traffic congestion, reducing the number of auto trips is a  public health concern. Click here to read the full article.  

How much is your commute polluting Charlotte – and how long are you sitting in traffic?

(by Ely Portillo, The Charlotette Observer) As Charlotte grows and develops, adding dozens of new residents a day, congestion has worsened along many commuter thoroughfares – a situation made worse by the fact that the vast majority of people in Charlotte drive to and from work alone. That’s prompted Sustain Charlotte and other local groups to launch a new effort to reduce the number of vehicle miles people drive alone by 1 million over the next eight months. “Excessive or needless single-occupancy driving clogs our streets, leads to more accidents, increases air pollution, and raises infrastructure spending,” said Sustain Charlotte Executive Director Shannon Binns. “For families, the use of sustainable modes of transportation enhances health, makes for a far more productive use of commuting time, builds friendships and relationships, and can save thousands of dollars per year in gas and vehicle maintenance.” Called Way2Go CLT, the initiative hinges on a new website and app. You can find it at, where you can register for free. Click here to read the full article. 

Sustain Charlotte launches community challenge to drive 1 million fewer miles alone

(by Katie Toussaint, CharlotteFive) On March 1, Sustain Charlotte launched Way2Go CLT, an eight-month challenge to motivate and enable Charlotteans to drive 1 million fewer miles alone in their cars by Oct. 31. To kickstart that motivation, Sustain Charlotte revealed some freaky statistics during a press conference... On the plus side, Sustain Charlotte has found that 50.7 percent of Charlotteans would like to bicycle more, 76.6 percent would like to walk more and 56 percent actually live within a 10-minute walk to a public transit stop. Do you fit those numbers? This is where the Way2Go CLT website and app come in. They can be found here. Way2Go CLT, a partnership with N.C. Department of Transportation, Kimley-Horn, Integra Architecture and the Charlotte Area Transit System, is powered by RideAmigos, a national transportation demand management platform, and lets you log miles that you travel by transit, carpool, biking or walking. Click here to read the full article. 

Charlotte nonprofit issues challenge to drive 1 million fewer miles

(by Mark Barber, WSOCTV Channel 9) CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit organization, has issued a challenge Wednesday for commuters to drive 1 million fewer miles by November... “Excessive or needless single-occupancy driving clogs our streets, leads to more accidents, increases air pollution, and raises infrastructure spending,” said the Sustain Charlotte executive director Shannon Binns. “For families, the use of sustainable modes of transportation enhances health, makes for a far more productive use of commuting time, builds friendships and relationships and can save thousands of dollars per year in gas and vehicle maintenance.” Click here to read the full article.

Sustain Charlotte Launches Initiative To Transform The Way Charlotteans Move Around

(by Annie Gibbs, QC Exclusive) Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit dedicated to solving Charlotte’s sustainability challenges, today announced an eight-month initiative to increase responsible mobility in the Queen City. In partnership with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Kimley-Horn, Integra Architecture, and the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), the nonprofit is launching Way2Go CLT, a region-wide challenge to drive one million fewer miles in single occupancy vehicles. Click here to read the full article.

Campaign aims to cut 1 million driving miles in Charlotte

(by Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal) Advocacy group Sustain Charlotte launched an eight-month campaign Wednesday to reduce solo driving trips by one million miles as part of a push to make people more aware of options such as mass transit, walking, biking and carpooling. Known as Way2GoCLT, the program includes backing from the state transportation department and an online component created by Los Angeles firm RideAmigos. Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte, told CBJ on Wednesday at a kickoff event in South End that the goal is to raise awareness while also putting some fun into a good cause. Click here to read the full article.

The True Cost of that Parking Space

(This Op-Ed By our Executive Director Shannon Binns was published in The Charlotte Observer.) Charlotte has invested, and will continue to invest, substantial sums of money to provide residents more safe and convenient transportation choices beyond cars. These include more opportunities to ride transit, bike and walk to achieve improvements in public health, the environment and to further economic growth. Undermining the impact of these investments, however, are Charlotte’s minimum parking requirements. These requirements result in abundant parking, which make driving more convenient and affordable than it otherwise would be if parking were scarce. Demand for driving is artificially induced while demand for modes of transportation that compete with driving is reduced as a result. Many cities around the country have caught on to this insidious effect of minimum parking requirements and have eliminated or reduced them, letting the market determine (and naturally reduce) the amount of parking provided. Parking everywhere The amount of space devoted to parking will probably surprise you. Researchers estimate that 40 percent of a typical U.S. city’s total land area is used for parking. I know of no Charlotte statistics, but it is likely that Charlotte is similar to other U.S. cities because of its minimum parking requirements. So how much parking does Charlotte require? Charlotte’s zoning code requires parking for every structure that is built. For example, a newly built condominium or apartment must have 1.5 parking spaces per unit, which for an apartment complex with 300 units, amounts to 450 parking spaces or 66,000 square feet of parking (221 square feet per unit). A newly constructed office building is required to have one parking space for every 300 square feet of office space (about .75 parking spaces per person), which for an 850,000 square foot office tower amounts to about 2,800 parking spaces or 410,000 square feet of parking. As a result of all this mandated parking, it is difficult to find a city block in Charlotte that is not at least partially lined with a parking lot or a parking structure. Hurts walking But more than just inducing demand for driving, this abundance of parking significantly harms the desirability of walking. Parking requires entrances and exits, so when a pedestrian is walking next to a parking lot or a parking structure, the pedestrian is in danger of being hit by automobiles coming in and out. Entrances and exits make street-level retail undesirable so it usually does not exist in parking structures. The danger, the lack of street-level retail and the unsightliness of parking structures and parking lots all combine to make walking undesirable around them. And in Charlotte, this is an issue on most non-residential streets because of the amount of parking Charlotte requires. People who use transit walk to and from their stops and in the neighborhoods or areas around their final destination. If people do not feel comfortable walking in these areas, they will elect to drive rather than ride, so it is important for the viability of transit that walking be desirable in these areas. Right now, driving in Charlotte is by far the easiest and most convenient mode of transportation, which is due in large part to its minimum parking requirements. If Charlotte hopes to realize the full benefits of its substantial investments in non-automobile transportation infrastructure and become a less car-dependent city, it will need to eliminate its minimum parking requirements, as other cities have.