Transportation

From Ballantyne to SouthPark to University City, the suburbs want to be more like the city

"Ballantyne Reimagined" seeks to redevelop an office park into a mixed-use hub of activity. It’s happening across Charlotte: Apartments, office buildings and restaurants are popping up in parking lots, as dense, mixed-use developments, connected by bicycle paths and walking trails, invade suburbia. What’s driving the shift at some of the city’s most iconic suburban centers?

Regional transit gets another ‘symbolic’ boost near Charlotte

Photo by Nancy Pierce Three counties outside Mecklenburg have now expressed formal - though nonbinding - support for bringing a regional rail system of some kind across the border. That would be a first for Charlotte, where rail-based mass transit has so far been confined to within the city limits.

Is this road design a better way to move, or an outdated solution for traffic?

A pedestrian at John Kirk Drive and University City Drive, or NC 49, near UNC Charlotte. As Charlotte grows denser and more urban, parts of the city built decades ago on an auto-centric, suburban framework are struggling to both absorb more traffic and adapt to new beliefs about how people should get around. A one-mile stretch of congested road in fast-growing University City illustrates the tensions between balancing the needs of cars and pedestrians, as well as local residents and commuters, in an area where the distinction between urban and suburban is starting to blur.

Charlotte is ‘on the cusp’ of its first true regional transit plan

The Charlotte region is taking concrete steps towards building a regional transit system, and, in a local first, the proposed Silver Line could run through three counties. But plenty of big questions remain. Chief among them: Who will pay?

People assume transit causes displacement. Does it really?

It’s a familiar story: A new transit line opens, spurring gentrification in nearby neighborhoods and pushing out long-time residents.  But is that always what happens? New research from UNC Charlotte suggests the story is more complicated. 

Here’s what Charlotte really, really needs from its 2040 plan

Charlotte's 2040 plan is coming. What will be in it? We asked a dozen Charlotte community leaders from different walks of life one question: What does the city need more than anything in its new vision for growth? From designing for people instead of cars to building more equitably to not imposing too many regulations, here’s what they had to say. 

Can Charlotte actually become a bike-friendly city?

Bicycling on Charlotte's new uptown cycle track. Is the city's first protected bicycle lane, now open in uptown, a model for expansion - or a solution that only works in certain parts of Charlotte? Advocates hope it's the former, but they acknowledge that the city has a long way to go.

Is the future of cities in the suburbs?

Suburbs in Charlotte are growing fast, as they are in many cities. As cities continue to grow and thrive, with downtowns reviving and old neighborhoods being redeveloped, is their future still really in the suburbs? That's what one advocate said this week at a real estate forum, provoking debate about growth, transit and sprawl.

Charlotte’s parking deck identity crisis: Can a deck be ‘green’?

What with Lyft, Uber, dockless bike-share and electric scooters, urban travel is changing. Even the basic notion of a parking deck now gets more scrutiny. Commentary.

Uber and Lyft are clogging cities, hurting transit

A station along the Blue Line light rail in Charlotte. Photo: Charlotte Area Transit System Despite rosy predictions, it seems ride-hailing companies are displacing trips by transit, bike and on foot. Cities like Charlotte need to work actively to keep them from worsening congestion. Commentary.