Determining how to advance Charlotte's mobility goals and pay for a major expansion of the transit system is no small task.
Fortunately, there's now a task force working to propose a solution! We're thrilled that our Bike + Pedestrian Coordinator, Eric Zaverl, has been appointed by Mayor Vi Lyles as one of 25 key community members members serving on the task force.
The first meeting of the new Charlotte Moves Task Force was held virtually on May 14. Watch video of the meeting and view the presentation slides. All images in this blog post are from the City's presentation.
Former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt leads the task force. The charge of this group is to "advise the City of Charlotte in the creation of a new Strategic Mobility Plan that integrates and updates current vehicle, pedestrian, bicycle, transit and safety plans, and sets mobility goals for the city and immediate region."
At the first meeting, the task force members introduced themselves and shared their reasons for caring about transportation. They received clarification about their goals, including supporting civic engagement, reviewing existing plans, assessing mobility needs, determining funding needs, and recommending a mobility network to City Council. They also learned about the important goal of integrating the City's climate and greenhouse gas reduction targets throughout all the mobility work of the task force.
Mayor Gantt emphasized that this will not be easy work and said to the members, "This is going to be very important work. The product will go before the City Council and hopefully, ultimately, before bodies that can make our vision a reality."
What is the Strategic Mobility Plan?
As we shared with you back in February, the City is working on a mobility plan that will allow Charlotte to grow sustainably while providing high-quality travel experiences including transit, walk, bike, and micro-mobility. This will result in better connectivity that will support community goals of affordable housing, upward mobility and workforce development.
Putting all the pieces together
Planning for land use and transportation in isolation simply doesn't work. Past planning done in proverbial "silos" led to the sprawl that has made it so challenging for people to live in the Charlotte area today without a car. Going forward, we must do better to integrate land use and transportation planning from the start of the process. Fortunately, the City is doing just that!
During the meeting, task force members heard updates from City staff about the various land use and transportation policies and planning processes related to their work between now and the end of 2020. This briefing will continue with additional topics in the coming months. In addition to their major focus on the Strategic Mobility Plan, the task force was asked at May's meeting to focus on:
- Aligning with the City's process of creating a Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan that supports Complete Neighborhoods in which residents have safe and convenient access to daily needs within a 10-minute walk, bike, or transit ride.
- Aligning their recommendations with the City's adopted Strategic Energy Action Plan to reach a community-wide goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 12 to 2 CO2 equivalents by the year 2050.
When will the work be complete?
As you can see from the figure below, there's a lot of planning work happening on parallel tracks over the next 12 months! The Charlotte Moves Task Force will conclude its work by the end of 2020 or January 2021 and make its formal recommendations to City Council. The city's work on the Strategic Mobility Plan and Charlotte Future 2040 Plan will continue into mid-2021.
Add YOUR voice!
"There will always be an opportunity in our meetings for the public to participate. Public participation is critical," said Mayor Gantt. Just because the meetings aren't yet happening in person, it's very important for you to help shape the future of transportation in Charlotte by sharing your input during the virtual meetings!
Here's how to participate:
- Watch the meeting live on the City of Charlotte's YouTube channel.
- Send your questions or comments either in advance or during the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May's meeting concluded with the task force reviewing questions and comments from the public, with staff responding. Eric Zaverl asked how the task force will ensure that public input during the upcoming months of social distancing will be equitable, especially for those without digital access. Assistant City Manager and Planning Director Taiwo Jaiyeoba responded, "This plan will not be adopted until we've had an opportunity to engage others who may not be able to interact with us via social media or the internet....We will have to either mail out something or put out something in the newsletter, but we will find a way to engage with our community who cannot interact with each other [online]."
At the next meeting on June 23 at 6:00pm, the task force will drill down into existing policies and programs including the 2030 Transit Plan, Charlotte Walks, Charlotte Bikes, and the Capital Improvement Plan.
Upcoming meetings will be held on June 23, Aug. 6, Sept. 17, Oct. 22, Nov. 18, Dec. 3.
Learn more at the official Charlotte Moves Task Force page: https://charlottenc.gov/Mayor/Charlotte_Moves_Task_Force/Pages/default.aspx