Sustain Charlotte has celebrated many essential wins in 2022, thanks to generous and steadfast support from folks like you! Here's a glimpse of what we've been up to.
Strategic Mobility Plan
One of our most significant public policy victories came in June when Charlotte City Council passed the Strategic Mobility Plan. The plan includes an ambitious goal of reducing the share of people driving to work alone in cars to just 50% from today’s 76% by 2040! To achieve this, the plan lays out a vision and commitment to dramatically improve our public transportation infrastructure and make our city more walkable and bikeable. Those are all critical steps in increasing equity and reducing our largest local source of climate pollution: the 1 million trips we take each day by cars and trucks.
Our staff worked hard behind the scenes and made it easy for you to express your views directly to policymakers to ensure this plan passed. We also informed readers like you about the plan’s benefits through free articles on our website.
Growing our Greenways
North Carolina is beautiful. And as Charlotte grows, we want to ensure that natural beauty is not just preserved, but preserved equitably. In 2022, we launched the Growing our Greenways campaign to encourage Mecklenburg County to accelerate the expansion of its network of greenways.
We joined forces with county Park and Recreation Commission members, Partners for Parks, and the Carolina Thread Trail to ask the county to budget at least $35 million in fiscal year 2023 to buy land for parks, greenways, and nature preserves. The county did that and more, budgeting a record $50 million! As of Nov. 1, the county had already received approval to spend about $36 million of that for more than 300 acres of land and was in the early stages of shoring up how to spend the rest.
We also held a series of greenway tours across the county, hosting an exclusive sneak peek of Phase 1 of the Long Creek Greenway — Mecklenburg's newest section! We do this because we think EVERYONE in our community should have access to parks, nature preserves, and greenways. They have myriad health and ecological benefits, and a more comprehensive greenway network will better connect neighborhoods and provide a safe way for people to commute without using cars — an essential step in reducing climate pollution.
Unified Development Ordinance
Charlotte is growing. At Sustain Charlotte, we've been working tirelessly to make sure it grows equitably and in a way that reduces climate pollution. In 2022, we advocated in public and behind the scenes to ensure that the Queen City has the right plans, policies, and tools to manage growth responsibly.
We played a major role in Charlotte City Council's passage of the new Unified Development Ordinance, a set of regulatory standards that will guide our city's growth over the coming decades and help implement the Charlotte Future 2040 Plan. The UDO also takes an essential step in alleviating Charlotte's housing crisis by allowing for the creation of more housing by permitting duplexes and triplexes in areas traditionally zoned only for single-family homes.
Our city needs more neighborhood diversity and a broader range of housing prices — a big reason we supported the UDO. The ordinance also requires more green space in developments, changes parking standards, and enhances tree canopy-preservation efforts.
Those are all changes Charlotte needs to become a better city for people walking, biking, and riding transit. This was a big victory for our ENTIRE community and Sustain Charlotte's members and donors helped make it possible.
Fun, educational, and advocacy-focused experiences
At our sold-out Sustainability Awards dinner in April, we lifted up and honored dozens of people and organizations moving the Charlotte region forward. In June, we stood with our community's bus and rail operators on Transit Appreciation Day to show support and thanks for their vital work. We held free greenway tours throughout the year to highlight communities across Mecklenburg County and demonstrate why we need a connected greenway network. In September, we had a virtual workshop to help explain the county's work toward creating an Environmental Justice Action Plan.
In October, we boosted local businesses and helped hundreds of people explore Charlotte by bike or foot during our eighth annual Biketoberfest. And we just wrapped up our advocacy-focused Impact 704 Academy, bringing together people like you who want to make a difference in OUR community and learn about sustainable growth and transportation challenges and solutions.
Those events brought joy, inspiration, and recognition to many.