Transit

Jan 19, 2017
Should the regional transit commission take on operating costs for the Charlotte streetcar? Former Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx makes that suggestion in an interview while reflecting on his tenure as U.S. transportation secretary.
Nov 30, 2016
Light rail to the UNC Charlotte campus will transform transportation options in the area, from parking to buses to an on-campus bike-share program that debuts next year. 
Nov 23, 2016
Can lower South End survive the large-scale cookie-cutter development now ravaging South End and NoDa? David Walters offers a way forward, based on lessons from Des Moines. Yes, Des Moines. Commentary.
Oct 11, 2016
A years-long debate over where to locate the county’s still-unfunded southeast transit corridor – the Silver Line – may be ending this month. But one huge problem remains. 
Sep 20, 2016
One recent weekend we took a driving trip from Boston to the coast. The next day we took a trip to the same area, using trains, bikes and buses. Afterward, I realized how different the two journeys had been. Commentary.
Sep 07, 2016
Transportation planning in the greater Charlotte region is split among five planning groups. Will a federal push to consolidate make a difference?
Apr 01, 2016
Bus 1074, one of GM's “New Look” buses that debuted in Charlotte in 1972, has found new life, thanks to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission.
Dec 08, 2015
The street beside uptown's new First Ward Park has plenty of parking but no bike lanes. What does that signal about the city's commitment to improved bicycling infrastructure? Commentary.
Nov 12, 2015
Can Charlotte do a better job of making its humble bus stops a bit less humble? A Charlotte city official is posing that question, and working to bring some comfortable swings to bus stops on Central Avenue.
Sep 01, 2015
As an important block on Camden Road faces likely development, its recent history reveals a complex narrative of a once-derelict area and a man with a vision, and shows how success changes a neighborhood. Commentary.
Aug 10, 2015
Can’t wait for the Blue Line Extension? Watch it grow, in this photo slideshow of construction along the 9.3-mile, $1.16 billion light rail project that will link UNC Charlotte to uptown Charlotte, South End and all the way to I-485.
Jul 28, 2015
Since I celebrated the launch of Charlotte’s streetcar I’ve cringed as the news media got it wrong and people made fun of it. If more people understood its value to neglected areas and to the whole city’s future, more people would support it. Commentary.
Jun 19, 2015
When asked whether I support the I-77 toll lane, my response is yes, but it won’t make a difference. Extra lanes will fill with more cars. We should be discussing mobility, not just highways. Commentary.
Apr 09, 2015
Public health expert Richard Jackson thinks it’s time to stop blaming individuals for the U.S. obesity problem. The problem, he says, is more systemic, including the auto-centric design of daily life and easy access to high-sugar and high-fat food.
Sep 15, 2014
Could Charlotte compete with Copenhagen as the happiest and most livable city in the world? What would it take? (Image Wikimedia Commons/Heb)
Sep 10, 2014
When the Blue Line Extension is finished, Mecklenburg's transit agency will have no more money to build the rest of the 2030 transit plan. And, warns Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter, even today’s transit funding may be at risk. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Aug 27, 2014
It was back-to-school week last week at UNC Charlotte, the 1,000-acre campus that sits in the heart of University City, an area that - if it were a separate municipality - would be North Carolina's sixth largest city. What challenges is it facing? (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
Jul 11, 2014
A proposal to re-design South End's bicycle-walking path beside the Lynx Blue Line into an art-filled series of public spaces has won an almost half-million-dollar grant to support creative place-making. (Image: Charlotte Center City Partners)
Jun 27, 2014
The city faces important decisions about its Eastland Mall property, and the future of east Charlotte. But the city's vision could be undermined by an upcoming rezoning. Commentary. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jun 18, 2014
When one Charlotte City Council member expressed concerns about pedestrian safety in South End, other council members chimed in with complaints from around the city. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
May 16, 2014
Transit advocate Benjamin Ross wondered why so many suburbanites fight development. After researching the founding values of U.S. suburbia he concludes it's based on status-seeking. He'll speak this evening at UNC Charlotte.
May 08, 2014
Charlotte's Windy Ridge neighborhood has drawn extensive publicity as an extreme example of a neighborhood "built to fail." In a new article for an academic journal, three UNC Charlotte researchers conclude that one factor in its failure was Charlotte's "growth-machine" culture. A Q-and-A interview. (Photo: Josh MCann)
Apr 02, 2014
We've lived car-free in Charlotte since 2012, and it hasn't been easy, though we're saving money. Instead of "transportation choices," why don't cities adopt a bolder long-range goal: to make car-free living more than a novelty? (Photo: Claire Apaliski)
Mar 24, 2014
Some hardy local city-dwellers are opting to take transit and bicycle even when they own cars and can just as easily drive. For some, it's about the environment. For some, it's about making the city more livable and urban. And for some, it's becoming a way of life. (Photo: Corey Conner)
Feb 12, 2014
Charlotte leaders cite Crystal City, outside Washington, as a model for new development they envision west of the airport. But this vision misses what makes Crystal City work: mass transit. (Photo: Mariana Gil/EMBARQ Brasil)
Feb 07, 2014
Charlotte city planners are moving forward with a plan to look - in stages - at revising the city-county zoning ordinance, hoping to finish that multiyear process by 2018.
Jan 23, 2014
As hundreds of apartments pop up around transit stations in Charlotte's South End neighborhood, the city's plan for more high-density housing near its rail line is taking shape. But a sister policy encouraging apartments for low-income families isn't faring as well. (Photo: John Chesser)
Jan 08, 2014
An expert in neighborhood walkability will speak Thursday (Jan. 9) at the UNC Charlotte uptown campus. The 5:30 p.m. event will feature author Julie Campoli ("Made for Walking: Neighborhood Density and Urban Form") and a new group focused on transportation choices. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Dec 03, 2013
Urged on by the city manager, Charlotte planners are taking more initiative to contact landowners along the city's new light rail line encouraging them to follow the city's vision for the corridor, Planning Director Debra Campbell said. (Photo: John Chesser)
Oct 10, 2013
A key city advisory committee has put off its recommendation on a proposed rezoning for a large car lot near a planned light rail station in University City. The deferral postpones City Council action to December – and a newly elected council. (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
Sep 13, 2013
A University City-area rezoning petition up for a public hearing Monday raises serious questions about whether the city can stand behind its plans for transit-friendly development along the proposed Blue Line Extension light rail line. (Photo: Martin Zimmerman)
Jul 30, 2013
Development patterns along Charlotte's Blue Line show a mixed bag of more low-density neighborhoods than planners recommend. That means the corridor is brimming with opportunity to develop more intensely, and in a way that puts walkable, diverse urban neighborhoods near transit. (Photo: Melissa Currie)
Jul 18, 2013
The question is widely debated among experts and in the press. Do surveys showing more preference for walkable, in-town neighborhoods measure a fleeting fad, or portend the end of suburbia? A UNC Charlotte geographer looks deeper. (Photo: Nancy Pierce)
Jul 11, 2013
Does the Charlotte region need an advocacy group to push for transportation options beyond highways? Dozens of area nonprofit leaders, planners, developers and activists gathered recently to consider whether such a group needs to be launched. (Photo: John Chesser)
May 22, 2013
Fact: A workmanlike sidewalk runs beside South End’s light rail tracks. Fact: South End today has no park. Add those facts. Thus was born the idea for a 3.3-mile Rail Trail featuring a series of attractive nodes along today’s Lynx rail tracks. Take a look at images showing its potential. (Rendering courtesy of Charlotte Center City Partners)
May 13, 2013
Will a new name, a new tie-in to the county’s overall transit plan, and a new funding scheme using no property tax money mean a new outcome for a proposed streetcar expansion project? (Photo: CATS)
Apr 09, 2013
A new study of access to jobs via automobile, across the United States, ranks the Charlotte metro area near the bottom. Unlike simple congestion studies, this one looks at land use as well as the transportation system.  
Mar 06, 2013
Imagine what could happen if mayors and City Council members – by getting out to meet voters on bicycles – could get more young, city-loving, bike and transit enthusiasts involved in local government. (Photo: www.bikepedimages.org / Dan Burden)
Feb 07, 2013
Since Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx gave his State of the City speech Monday, most publicity has focused on his remarks about the proposed streetcar and about a proposal in the legislature to remove Charlotte/Douglas International Airport from city control. Those are important issues. But another one may well trump those, and it’s not getting much publicity:The way Charlotte used to grow is over.
Nov 15, 2012
By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004 – with Echo Boomers leading the trend. Here in Mecklenburg County, however, younger drivers are on the road more, not less.
Oct 31, 2012
The big picture may have gotten buried Tuesday as Charlotte City Council members chewed on, and chewed and chewed on, different alternative revenue strategies that might enable the city to build the second leg of its proposed streetcar.
Oct 24, 2012
There are many reasons public transit, such as a light rail system, is beneficial, even for those who don’t use it. Yet for commuters, Congress has cut a tax benefit for those using public transit to almost half that for those commuting by car.
Oct 01, 2012
Have thoughts about plans for development along the hoped-for next leg of Charlotte’s light rail line? Three public workshops are scheduled, starting this Thursday.
Sep 14, 2012
A clear majority of Mecklenburg County residents say they back increased local government spending to expand public transportation options, including buses, trains and light rail, according to a new survey from the National Resources Defense Council. The survey also found the American public is dissatisfied with transportation options where they live.
Aug 16, 2012
What’s next for transit in Mecklenburg County? “We’re stuck,” says Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. While he’s optimistic the Blue Line Extension will be funded, “Sales tax revenues won’t support anything else.” The mayor also said the City Council will hold meetings this fall on the future of the city’s five-year Capital Investment Plan, which the council rejected in June. Read more, from an interview with the mayor ... 
Jun 27, 2012
How did this happen? How did a Charlotte City Council – with all 11 members willing to vote for a small property tax hike to pay for an ambitious, five-year plan of neighborhood improvements – wind up killing that five-year plan?
Mar 09, 2012
Is it prescient and forward-thinking for the city to encourage subsidized housing at rapid transit stations in coming decades? Or would that kill any near-term chance to halt a pattern of sinking property values near some of those stations, especially in east and northeast Charlotte?
Feb 29, 2012
A railroading resurgence is rolling into the Charlotte region – and through some people's back yards. From Davidson to Harrisburg to Gaston County, efforts to capture some of a national increase in freight rail traffic have upset some residents. And the possibility of freight NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard) might create another obstacle for commuter rail from Charlotte to Iredell County.
Feb 22, 2012
There I was, pencil poised over a large drawing of Gastonia. It was 1997 and I was running a public workshop to design a network of greenways and open spaces for residents to enjoy as recreational and natural amenities.  Someone in the background was fiddling with a radio. Then, as I remember the moment,  the strident sounds of a local radio station blared through the room. “Did you know there’s a foreigner working in Gastonia, helping the United Nations send troops to take away your freedom?”
Oct 26, 2011
Amid the pervasive gloom and depression about the future of American cities I was lucky enough to visit recently two very different American places that hold out some hopes for a sustainable future here in the USA.