Charlotte, North Carolina: A City with One of the Lowest Economic Mobility Rates in the Nation

(By Ethan Ehrenhaft - The Davidsonian) “I’ve heard it framed as if it’s almost like there are ‘two Charlottes,’” commented Meg Fencil, the Program Director of Sustain Charlotte, a non-profit organization. According to Fencil, those two hypothetical cities consist of the “shiny, economically vibrant Charlotte with the banking center and uptown” and the other Charlotte, “with intergenerational poverty,” bearing the 50th out of 50 cities label. Charlotte has more than doubled its population since 1990 and now boasts 842,051 residents in 2017. The city can expect to add over 400,000 people in the next 25 years. Public transportation and roadworks have lagged far behind the population swell, as have housing projects. A study carried out by the University of Utah found that of 162 “urbanized areas” nationwide, Charlotte had the 5th worst urban sprawl, as measured by compactness of residential areas. “One of the things that has no doubt had an impact is the way Charlotte has grown over the last three decades,” stated Dr. Vikram Kumar, the current Chair of the Economics Department. While the prosperity of Charlotte’s financial, healthcare, and energy sectors “has lead to a redevelopment and renaissance of the uptown area, it is also true that people who have lived here for many generations historically, including underprivileged households, have likely had to have moved away due to increasing tax burdens and increasing property values,” according to Kumar. Sustain Charlotte works on addressing many of the issues linked to Charlotte’s economic immobility. One of the more pressing problems, visible to any Davidson student who frequents I-77, is the drastic need for improved transportation infrastructure. The rapidly increasing population sprawl also means building a cohesive public transportation system is especially important. Read more here

Sustain Charlotte and City Partner on Protected Bike Lane Across Uptown

(By Casey Wilson - Charlotte Stories) Sustain Charlotte is excited to announce that they are partnering with Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT), Charlotte Center City Partners (CCCP), Mecklenburg County Park and Rec, and dozens of citizen volunteers to install a two-mile protected bicycle lane spanning all of Uptown on the morning of October 22nd. The lane, which will run along all of 6th Street and part of 5th Street, will be open for public use at noon, just in time for Sustain Charlotte’s Biketoberfest, and remain in place for one week — until October 29th.During the demonstration, CDOT will collect data and feedback from users to inform the design of a permanently protected bicycle lane on these streets. In March of 2016, Sustain Charlotte launched a campaign to show public support for safer, and more connected bike facilities so people of all ages and abilities can get where they need to go by bike. Read more here 

City testing out protected bike lanes in uptown this week

(By Ashley Fahey - Charlotte Business Journal) The Charlotte Department of Transportation, in partnership with Charlotte Center City Partners and Sustain Charlotte, have set up a temporary protected bike lane across uptown this week to give bicyclists a taste for what a more permanent solution could feel like. Starting Sunday, CDOT closed one lane on parts of Fifth and Sixth streets, allowing cyclists to exclusively use that lane from the intersection of McDowell and Sixth streets to Fifth Street and Irwin Avenue, near Ray's Splash Planet. The part of the route from the Lynx Seventh Street Station to Pine Street is two ways. The rest of the route — the stretch from McDowell Street to the Blue Line/Rail Trail as well as from Pine Street to Irwin Avenue — is one-way. The protected bike lane will be in operation until Sunday. The idea is to test whether a permanent bike lane connecting Little Sugar Creek Greenway on the east side of uptown and the Irwin Creek Greenway on the west side is feasible, said Ben Miller, bicycle program manager at CDOT. Read more here 

Protected bike lanes will be tested in uptown Charlotte

They're known for promoting cyclist safety across Charlotte, and now -- Sustain Charlotte has partnered with the city and county to test bringing a protected bike lane to Uptown Charlotte. Watch the interview with Kate Cavazza

CMPD: Icy windshield to blame for collision that killed Navy veteran

(By Mark Barber - WSOCTV) Wheeler’s brothers said he volunteered as a firefighter in Waxhaw and in north Charlotte. Some of his brothers are ministers and, even though they are broken now, they said their faith is stronger than their grief. "The only thing that really helps through a time like this is knowing that God's got him in His hands," said Henry Wheeler. This tragedy doesn't stand alone. Channel 9 counted four crashes that killed or seriously hurt pedestrians along Monroe Road in just the past year and a half. A non-profit called Sustain Charlotte, which helps neighborhoods with growth, has already walked this corridor with neighbors to identify the dangers. Read more and watch the video here 

The commute in uptown Charlotte may soon change thanks to bike lanes

(By Ben Williamson - WBTV) For a week, portions of 5th and 6th street have transformed into pedestrian and cyclist friendly lanes as the Charlotte Department of Transportation works to get feedback about a permanent protected bike lane.  This particular street, 6th Street, connects the two greenways so we want to create a network around Charlotte where you can get on your bike. The more people who get on it, and ride it, and experience the benefits of it, the more positive feedback we are going to get,” said Kate Cavazza, the bike program manager at Sustain Charlotte.  Read more here

Taking car lanes for bike lanes? Charlotte’s testing that idea uptown.

(By Ely Portillo - The Charlotte Observer) "The temporary bike lane, a collaboration between the city, Sustain Charlotte and Charlotte Center City Partners, is in place until Sunday. Closing the lane and putting up the temporary barriers made up the bulk of the effort’s cost, accounting for about $5,000, Miller said. They’ll gather data from this week’s test run to help plan the next phase. The city will examine feedback from drivers and cyclists about the impact of removing a car lane. The city will start designing a permanent protected bike lane uptown in 2018." Read more here

Biketoberfest: Bike Around Charlotte

(WCNC) "Biketoberfest is all about fall, celebrating fall, fun, family, and freedom...This year we have partnered with the City to build what is called a protected bike lane all the way through uptown on 6th street to connect to the green ways...It's a great way to get out and be protected for vehicular traffic"  Check out the interview with the founder of Sustain Charlotte here.

Charlotte DOT testing out bike lanes in uptown

(wsoctv) "The city has already started working on a design for a permanent bike lane uptown. "There has been a ton of study around this corridor and CDOT has determined this is the best lane to be given to cyclists,” Sustain Charlotte bike program manager Kate Cavazza said. The city doesn't have the funding yet but feedback from the pilot project will play a roll in deciding if it will move forward. Despite the temporary bike lane taking away a lane for drivers on the busy uptown street, Joleen Park, manager of the Queen City Q thinks the bike lane is a great idea. "I know parking in uptown is always an issue and I think some people don't like coming downtown because of the parking,” Park said. In May, the city tested temporary bike lanes in Plaza Midwood and received mixed feedback. "As we know, traffic is getting worse, more people move here,” Cavazza said. “Forty-four people a day move to Charlotte, and with a bigger city, we need more transportation choices to eliminate that traffic, and it's good for our future."" Watch the video and read more here

Confronting Energy Poverty in Charlotte's Low-Income Communities

(By Ryan Pitkin - Creative Loafing)  "North Carolina receives about $88 million in federal funds a year from the Low Income Energy Assistance program. Of the 1.5 million North Carolinians who qualified for the program last year, only 6 percent received assistance, and even then only for about a month. On a local level, Salvador is currently working with the city of Charlotte to help them create affordable, energy-efficient "Smart Homes" in the North End district, and she regularly holds workshops in areas that experience high levels of energy poverty to help educate residents about energy efficiency. On Saturday, September 30, Salvador and a group of volunteers held an Energy Hero workshop outside of the Arbor Glen Outreach Center. Other local organizations like Sustain Charlotte and Habitat for Humanity were on hand to help residents learn about energy efficiency." Read more here