Two local surveys confirm that residents of Charlotte and the wider region want better and safer transportation choices. The Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Living in Charlotte 2016: Views on Housing, Transportation and Community survey and Charlotte Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) 2016 Transportation Survey both indicate that area residents desire to walk and ride bicycles more, but are not fully satisfied with the safety level provided by current infrastructure and street conditions.
The ULI survey includes responses from 2,984 individuals living in Mecklenburg County and the seven contiguous counties, while the CDOT survey includes responses from 404 households randomly selected from within CDOT’s service area (including Charlotte and its extraterritorial jurisdiction).
The CDOT survey found 86 percent of respondents want to see roads designed for everyone, and 79 percent think the city or state should provide alternative modes of transportation to ease congestion.
76.6 percent would like to walk more, but only 54.7 percent think it’s easy to walk in Charlotte. Respondents said they would walk more if they had a greater variety of destinations/activities within walking distance (85.5 percent), more pedestrian crossings of busy thoroughfares (83.5 percent), more/better sidewalk connections (79.6 percent), better lighting (79.8 percent), more greenways/multi-use paths (79.1 percent), and slower traffic speeds (50.7 percent).
50.7 percent would like to bicycle more, but only 27.8 percent think it’s easy to bicycle in Charlotte. Safer crossings (85.8 percent), separated on-street bike facilities/ protected bike lanes (80.8 percent), and off-street facilities (79.7 percent) would encourage people to bike more.
The ULI survey, which analyzed the Mecklenburg and the surrounding seven-county region, indicates a similar level of residents’ desire to ride bicycles more. 88 percent of respondents overall, and 93 percent of Millennials, want to bike more.
68 percent are dissatisfied with the number and condition of bike facilities in their area.
77 percent worry about getting hit by a vehicle while biking.
74 percent would be more likely to ride if there was physical separation (ie, protected bike lane) from motor vehicles.
At their January 23 meeting, Charlotte City Council will vote on adoption of Charlotte WALKS and the Transportation Action Plan, both of which will help the City correct identified weaknesses in the transportation network and meet the mobility needs of a rapidly growing population. A similar process will follow for the Charlotte BIKES plan, beginning with a projected recommendation to the full Council by the Transportation and Planning Focus Area at their February meeting.
Sustain Charlotte will speak in support of these plans during the public hearing portion of the January 23 City Council meeting. Interested citizens may register to speak for up to 3 minutes.
Sustain Charlotte is working to improve conditions for bicycling and walking through several initiatives:
Partnering with West Boulevard Corridor neighborhoods to help them become effective advocates for safer streets.
Presented a petition with over 4,000 local signatures to City Council in July requesting a protected bike lane connecting the Little Sugar Creek and Irwin Creek greenways through Uptown. As a result, the City is currently designing and will install a pilot lane in 2017.
Partnered with the Villa Heights, Belmont, and Plaza Midwood neighborhood associations to help them advocate for design changes to Parkwood Avenue and The Plaza, resulting in a study by the City and street re-design options, which were presented to City Council’s Transportation and Planning Committee on January 9
Hosting Way2Go CLT, a city-wide sustainable mobility challenge to reduce miles driven alone by one million in 2017.
Sustain Charlotte is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, engaging and uniting citizens to solve Charlotte’s sustainability challenges. We inspire choices that lead to a healthy, equitable, and vibrant community for generations to come.