Ask a resident of Greater Charlotte what issues they see within our region, and you’ll likely get traffic or transportation as a top answer. Last week we brought together a panel of transportation experts from local government and the private sector to discuss the mobility challenges we face, and some potential solutions.
Our panelists for the evening were Liz Babson, the Director of Charlotte Dept. of Transportation, John Lewis, CEO of CATS, Charlotte City Councilmember Greg Phipps, and Stephen Stansbery, Vice-President of Kimley-Horn and Associates.
John kicked off the conversation by sharing a little about where we’ve been and where we’re going, with regards to public transit in our community. He shared that we need to be sure to provide mobility options if we want to maintain our high quality of life in the face of the enormous population growth happening. We’ve gotten to where we are today through intentional planning, and we need to continue to plan for the future. CATS is starting to do that now through the corridor studies on the Silver and Red lines and the Envision My Ride bus network redesign.
One key thought shared by Liz was the acknowledgement that we’re not going to widen our way out of the growth we’re experiencing, and that we need transportation choices for people, as well as land development that provides a mixture of uses so people don’t always have to take a car. Creating safe walkable, bikeable places and supporting transit access are key pieces of that.
Councilmember Phipps reminded attendees that many of the projects happening around town do include bike-ped infrastructure and are integral to the overall vision of biking in CLT. He also stressed that we can look at other communities, even internationally, to see how they address bicycle-pedestrian programs.
Stephen tied the discussion together with his statement - one of the biggest challenges is to build a coalition of support for diversified infrastructure. Creating this type of broad support is what will enable us to link mobility and transportation decisions back to the wide variety of other community challenges we face, and then address those challenges.
How Sustain Charlotte is creating change...and how you can help.
It’s clear that transportation and mobility challenges we face aren’t a simple thing to address, but that’s why Sustain Charlotte is focused on making the connection between mobility and quality of life. We do this by working with residents to identify transportation challenges in their communities, by leading demonstration projects that show how bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure can benefit communities, and more. Check out our Programs page to learn more about our work!
If YOU want to take action to improve transportation, you can comment on the Envision My Ride bus redesign, and you can add your name to our #GetThereCLT petition supporting safe, connected transportation options in Mecklenburg County!
If you want to see more of the panel discussion, watch the video here!