Signs, festivities aim to get people walking in Charlotte

(by Mary Newsom, PlanCharlotte)

To be truly walkable, a neighborhood needs more than sidewalks and safe street crossings. Those are important, but an often overlooked factor is whether it has places to walk to, such as stores, coffee shops, schools and parks.

An event this weekend called Walk Your Neighborhood aims to show residents of six neighborhoods that—perhaps surprisingly to some in this auto-focused city—many destinations in the Plaza Midwood business district are within a short walk.

Starting Saturday morning, 40 signs will sprout throughout neighborhoods surrounding the Plaza-Central Central Avenue intersection, each sign noting how many minutes it takes to walk to popular destinations such as breweries, a park, antique shops, etc. In addition, 40 more clean-graffiti sidewalk images have gone down already.

The nonprofit group Sustain Charlotte and its Transportation Choices Alliance are behind the pilot project to encourage people who live near the business district along Central Avenue near The Plaza to  walk more and drive less.

“We’ve seen that in other cities, if you provide wayfinding signs, people love them. People use them,” said Sustain Charlotte executive director Shannon Binns. “We think there will be people who maybe didn’t realize some of these places are within a 15- to 20-minute walk from their house.”

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