Sustain Charlotte launches campaign for a protected bike lane through uptown

If Sustain Charlotte gets its way, it will soon be a little easier to get across uptown on your bike. The local nonprofit launched its #IBIKECLT campaign during an event last night at Sugar Creek Brewing. The goal: Connect Irwin Creek and Little Sugar Creek Greenways with an east-west, protected bike lane through uptown. The key word: Protected. Uptown already has bike lanes, but Sustain Charlotte envisions lanes — and, eventually, a network of lanes — with curbs or planters or something separating the bike lanes from traffic. Sustain Charlotte pointed to research that showed protected bike lanes improved safety, traffic congestion and social equity. The group also pointed to cities like New York City and Washington D.C., which have protected lanes and have seen a large increase in bike commuters. “It shouldn’t be the first and last protected bike lane, but it’s a good one to start with,” Sustain Charlotte Executive Director Shannon Binns said in a phone interview. Read more here.

Group proposes uptown bike lane to link greenways

(by Bruce Henderson, The Charlotte Observer) Sustain Charlotte has launched a campaign to connect the Irwin Creek and Little Sugar Creek greenways with a protected bike lane through uptown. The on-street lanes would be separated from traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts. They’re gaining interest across the U.S., with more than 200 installed, but haven’t been built yet in Charlotte. Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit group that advocates for healthy communities, announced thecampaign at a Thursday night event on transportation. Mayor Jennifer Roberts addressed the gathering. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a city council more excited about it,” said Jordan Moore, the group’s bicycle program director. “I really do think momentum is growing.” Read more here.

Bicycling in the city gets two big pushes

(by Mary Newsom, PlanCharlotte) The local nonprofit group Sustain Charlotte on Thursday announced a campaign asking residents to urge the City of Charlotte to build a protected bike lane through uptown by the end of 2016, to connect east to west. So … what’s a protected bike lane? It’s an on-street bike lane separated from auto traffic by curbs, planters, parked cars or posts —in other words, by something more than just a stripe of paint on pavement. New York City began installing such lanes in 2007. On streets with on-street parking, for example, pavement was re-painted to place the bike lanes next to the sidewalk with the parking lane next to traffic, using the parked cars as a buffer between cyclists and moving motor vehicles.  “These are protected bike lanes are being built all over the country, and we don’t have any yet in Charlotte,” Sustain Charlotte executive director Shannon Binns said in an interview. “And we think it’s time that we have them too.”  Read more here. 

NC Group Wants Bicycles in the Driver's Seat

(by Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - NC) CHARLOTTE, N.C. - For decades, much of the state's transportation solutions have come down to building roadways to accommodate more vehicles, but a group advocating for increased sustainability is asking policy makers to pave the way for transportation of the two-wheeled variety.Tonight, Sustain Charlotte will announce its campaign for the construction of a protected bike lane running through uptown Charlotte and connecting Little Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek Greenways, says Shannon Binns, the group's executive director. "We're really trying to bring that infrastructure to Charlotte," explains Binns. "We think if we can start with a world-class bike lane in uptown Charlotte, that will show people just how much safer that makes it to bicycle. That will have a ripple effect that hopefully will lead to a world class network throughout the city."  Read more here. 

Cross Charlotte Trail Could Stretch from Pineville to NoDa by 2019

(by Corey Inscoe, CharlotteFive) "Last week, the city and county approved the latest addition to the Cross Charlotte Trail — a short chunk of trail that will connect the end of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway at Parkwood Avenue to 24th Street...Frey and Sustain Charlotte Bicycle Program Director Jordan Moore both think this [trail] has the potential to be a visual centerpiece in the city and a symbol of the city’s commitment to pedestrians and alternate modes of transportation."  Click here to read more.

Creating better transportation options in the Queen City

(By Steve Hahn, AARP North Carolina) According to the organization Sustain Charlotte, “It’s no secret that Charlotte’s transportation network is primarily built for cars, not for people on bikes or on foot. But that’s been changing in recent years as Charlotte Department of Transportation has taken an approach that considers the needs of not only auto drivers, but also those who cannot or choose not drive.”... This week on “Without Limits,” you’ll hear from Sustain Charlotte’s Executive Director Shannon Binns who talks about the needs and progress being made in the Queen City when it comes to improving transportation options. Click here to read more. Or listen now.

Last Word with James Funderburk

(by Society Charlotte, an interview with James Funderburk) "Local Community Issue most on your radar….  There is a crisis of small local businesses being pushed out for new development that will have a devastating effect on the uniqueness of Charlotte and hence our quality of life. This problem also contributes to income inequality... Local non-profit you would drop everything to help… Anything Shannon Binns with Sustain Charlotte would ask!  What is more important than clean air to breathe, safe water to drink and a clean healthy food chain that does not strain the environment? Sustain Charlotte brings these issue up at all the important conversations and helps guide our city to make sustainable choices for smart growth. " Read more here. 

Sustain Charlotte supports managed lane strategy for Charlotte region

Sustain Charlotte shared the following comments with Charlotte City Council at the January 11, 2016 public hearing on Managed Lanes: Case studies from around the nation demonstrate that, in rapidly growing metro areas, adding general purpose lanes does not work as a long-term strategy to manage traffic congestion.  A new general purpose lane may very well reduce congestion for years or even a decade, but what inevitably happens in a growing region is that this additional lane fills up with traffic and the congestion problem is perpetuated. We live in a metro area that is predicted to have the second-fastest growing population in the U.S. Charlotte’s population is projected to grow by 71% between 2010 and 2030.  There is simply no way we can meet the transportation needs of our current and future residents by continuing to build more roads and widening existing roads as we have in the past. Eventually we’ll run out of space and have to displace residents (at great expense) to keep up with demand for additional road capacity. The long-term health and sustainability of our environment, our economy, and the quality of life for all of our region’s residents is at stake. Continue reading

Knight Foundation grants to benefit Trees Charlotte, other groups

(by Hayley Fowler, The Charlotte Observer) The Knight Foundation will announce $4.3 million in grants to three Charlotte-area organizations Tuesday — including $2.24 million to Trees Charlotte... Susan Patterson, the Knight Foundation’s Charlotte program director, said each of the three organizations are working to expand their efforts. “We are really interested in how to make Charlotte a more vibrant, connected place to live,” she said. “They all come at this in different ways.” Trees Charlotte was created in 2012 to help the “The City of Trees” achieve its goal of having 50 percent of the city covered by tree canopy by 2050, and Executive Director Dave Cable said this gift will catapult the organization’s long-term efforts...  Shannon Binns, founder and executive director of Sustain Charlotte, said a lot of cities have a natural resource — typically a body of water — with which to connect. For Charlotte, Binns said that natural resource is trees. Click here to read the full article.

Dear City Council: Where are bike lanes to our new uptown park?

(by Shannon Binns of Sustain Charlotte, Plan Charlotte) "An open letter to Charlotte City Council members: Today we are unveiling the new First Ward Park, which is extremely positive for our community.  With this new park and the developments that will follow, we have a tremendous opportunity to avoid mistakes we have made in the past with respect to providing safe infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians as well as motorists. However, already, we have missed an opportunity. The section of North Brevard Street along the east side of the new First Ward Park has been re-constructed with bulb-out street parking on both sides— and no bike lanes. By doing this, we have sent a message to the community that the ability to drive to the park is more important than the ability to visit it by bicycle.  For an urban park, in one of the densest parts our city, this is the wrong message.  When reading today’s Charlotte Agenda article about all the planned developments in the area, I learned that the city is paying developer Daniel Levine nearly $30 million in the form of a grant for building a massive parking deck right next to the Blue Line Extension light rail. Again, this is sending the wrong message.  It is telling the public that while we have invested nearly $1.2 billion in public funds to build a new light rail line that will, literally, stop in the park, we want to make it possible for everyone to drive to this area as well. How does this grant support our investment in the Blue Line Extension and encourage residents to choose transit over driving, which should be a major city priority given our projected population growth and already congested roads? In all the renderings shown in the article, depicting the development planned for this area, not a single bike lane is visible. In fact, cyclists are shown riding on the sidewalk—unsafe for pedestrians and cyclists (not to mention illegal on many Center City streets nearby).  However, more bulb-out parking is shown, despite Levine promising at least 1,335 public parking spaces as part of the grant agreement. Surely the public spaces in this area, the city streets, can be dedicated for public use rather than private parking? We have an incredible opportunity, with this development, to build infrastructure for cyclists as well as motorists and pedestrians, but so far we have missed this opportunity by using valuable public space to provide temporary storage (i.e. parking) for privately owned cars. Let's seize this unique opportunity to build this part of our city in a way that encourages and supports walking, biking, and riding transit, rather than continuing to devote so many public dollars to ensuring that everyone can easily get around by car. Auto-oriented development should be in our past, not our present, and certainly not in one of the most urban parts of our city. I look to you to ensure that we will follow our own Urban Street Design Guidelines, which Charlotte City Council passed in 2007 to “create streets that provide capacity and mobility for motorists, while also being safer and more comfortable for pedestrians, cyclists, and neighborhood residents.” I look forward to your leadership on this issue for the benefit of all current and future Charlotteans." Letter posted publicly on Plan Charlotte.