Adding up impact of CATS’ Gold Line

(by Erik Spanberg, Charlotte Business Journal) "Charlotte’s streetcar system hit the road a year ago and, so far, is ahead of projections in every way...The initial 1.5-mile segment running from Elizabeth to uptown that started running last July is seeing daily average weekday ridership of 1,601. That is 78% above transit system projections of 900 daily riders for what is called the CityLynx Gold Line... Sustain Charlotte, a transit and sustainable growth advocacy group, urges people to look at the big-picture impact of the streetcar. 'While the economic impacts are extremely important, we believe the social and environmental benefits are of equal importance, especially as we witness undeniable growing social unrest and environmental disasters due to climate change,” said Shannon Binns, Sustain Charlotte executive director. “We can no longer afford to only evaluate our choices in terms of the easy to monetize costs and benefits. We must also place a value on the social and environmental impacts of our choices, which ultimately have significant economic impacts as well.'" Click here to read more.

Charlotte Waste Reduction Project Concentrates on Food

(by Sherrell Dorsery, Next City) "Charlotte’s Solid Waste Services department recently announced a plan to get nearly 16,000 homes in majority low-income and minority neighborhoods to cut the amount of trash they discard by half...Healthy Communities seeks to chip away at some of these challenges by leveraging the city’s goal of reaching zero waste by 2050 and centering the conversation on food... Meg Fencil, education outreach and program director for Sustain Charlotte’s sustainable communities program, has led health and wellness efforts in addition to recycling and anti-littering campaigns in communities in the West Boulevard Corridor. “In general, there’s often high turnover in communities where most of the residents rent their homes. Many people may have never been taught to recycle, or apartment complexes in many of these communities don’t offer it,” says Fencil. Her organization has worked over the last three to four years in communities like Grier Heights and Reid Park, where Solid Waste will focus its campaign. They’ve helped residents establish sustainability vision plans, organized trash cleanups and recycling drives, and provided small stipends to engage local youth in becoming educators in their communities on these issues. By partnering with Solid Waste on the Healthy Communities initiative, Fencil believes the program will have greater impact in helping people learn the basics of recycling and reducing waste to start making a difference." Click here to read more.

City Council Bike Lane Discussion

(by Steve Harrison, The Charlotte Observer) "at Monday’s meeting, Jordan Moore of Sustain Charlotte spoke about the need for council members to build new protected bike lanes. Roberts then started a discussion about the bike lanes and said she wanted council members to vote to refer the lanes to a committee. At that point, several council members began a freewheeling discussion about the need for bike lanes." Read more here.

A protected bike lane through uptown? Some want to make it a reality

(by Ely Portillo, The Charlotte Observer) "Bicycle advocates will make a pitch Monday to Charlotte City Council, seeking funding for a protected bike lane through uptown. Unlike a bike lane that’s designated with a simple stripe of paint on the pavement, a protected bike lane separates bicyclists from cars with a physical barrier. That enhances safety, advocates say, and makes people more comfortable with riding on the streets. Jordan Moore, bicycle program director for Sustain Charlotte, said the group is hoping the city will find funding for at least one protected bike lane running east to west. The lane would link the Little Sugar Creek Greenway and the Irwin Creek Greenway. One proposed route would run along Third Street, but Sustain Charlotte isn’t committed to a specific route at this stage... Sustain Charlotte has been building public support with the hashtag #IBIKECLT." Read more here.  

National transit survey taps into Charlotte needs

(by Melissa Key, Charlotte Business Journal) "It’s easy to say but harder to accomplish: Get people where they want to go when they want to go and be on time. Transit users across the country, in a national survey released this month, made known their preferences for buses, trains and other public transportation that runs frequently, has dedicated tracks or lanes and can be reached with safe, comfortable walks within a mile of the stops and stations... 'One of the key takeaways is that there are a lot of ingredients in this report that are important in order to (build) a useful transit system,' said Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit that focuses on combining economic, environmental and social concerns to improve quality of life. 'A lot of things they recognize as necessary ingredients are missing right now in Charlotte. And that makes it clear why we don’t have more transit use.' Binns sees cause for optimism in the differences between the report and what Charlotte transit offers. The reason: He likes the pledge already made by city transit system CEO John Lewis Jr. to re-work local bus routes over the next year to improve efficiency and access. Beyond that, Binns and other transit boosters are encouraged by recent statements from business executives and political leaders about making a much more concerted effort to hone a detailed transit plan for future expansion — and funding." Read more here. 

Can route changes improve bus service in Charlotte?

(by Erik Spanberg, The Charlotte Business Journal) So-called bus rapid transit options are planned or under discussion for two heavily traveled areas — north Mecklenburg and Independence Boulevard — while the main Charlotte system’s 72 routes are likely to undergo dramatic shifts... CATS is starting a year-long route analysis. The current system isn’t efficient enough to reliably get people to work and other destinations in a reasonable time period, said CATS CEO John Lewis Jr. Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit dedicated to combining environmental and economic health, said the lack of reliable bus service here “is a huge deterrent to ridership. Most folks are too busy to stand around for long periods of time.” Click here to read full article.

Mecklenburg County selects $683.3 million vision for Brooklyn Village project

(by Steve Harrison, The Charlotte Observer)) BK Partners has been selected by Mecklenburg County to transform 17 acres in Second Ward into Brooklyn Village, a massive mixed-use project of retail, apartments, offices, open space and 280 hotel rooms... One sticking point for Cotham and others was a belief that BK Partners and the other proposals didn’t have enough open space. Leading up to the vote, groups such as Sustain Charlotte questioned why the county would give up 5-acre Marshall Park in exchange for less than 2 acres of park space. Read more here. 

Zuehlke Recognized by Sustain Charlotte

(by Charlotte Latin School) Countless thanks and congratulations to Science Department Chair, compost connoisseur, recycling ringleader, and trash trailblazer – our own Bill Zuehlke – who was nominated for Outstanding Leader in the 2016 Sustain Charlotte Awards. Nominations are made by members of the public; this year marks the fifth annual awards. According to Sustain Charlotte, "What makes this event unique is that it brings together sustainability leaders from a range of disciplines and sectors: for profit, nonprofit, and government." The nonprofit group Sustain Charlotte announced its annual award winners in April at an evening event coupled with an Earth Day celebration. The group recognized individuals, local nonprofits, government agencies and businesses for their work in advancing Sustain Charlotte's Charlotte 2030 sustainability plan, which was launched in 2010. Read more here. 

Pantsless Bike Ride to Promote Bicycle Safety and Awareness

(by Katie Toussaint, CharlotteFive) If you saw the pantsless people riding bikes along the Charlotte Rail Trail on Saturday, May 21, rest assured, you were not hallucinating. The staff of Unknown Brewing Co. in South End actually organized this event, and an open invitation to the community — and the media — to join. The brewery and its Unknown Bike and Brew team partnered with Good Bottle Co., Queen City Bicycles and 24 Hours of Booty to create Charlotte’s first-annual pantsless bike ride. The event was intended to promote bicycle safety and awareness, Sustain Charlotte, 24 Hours of Booty and, naturally, a darn good time. Read more here.  

Bikers ride 'pantless' around Charlotte for a cause

(by Fox46) "The Unknown Brewery held its first annual No Pants Bike Ride in Charlotte on Saturday. Almost 50 bikers rode pantless around the city to raise awareness of Sustain Charlotte's efforts to improve bike lanes in the area and show support for a more livable, bike-able and sustainable Charlotte." Read more here.