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Charlotte aspires to be bike friendly, but it's a bumpy road ahead

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David Boraks
/
WFAE
Joy Rides electric bikes for rent along the Charlotte Rail Trail.

Charlotte is pedaling towards a more bike-friendly future.

While about three-quarters of Charlotte residents commuted by car pre-pandemic, the city aims to have 50% of residents' trips made through "walking, cycling and transit" by 2040.

That’s according to the first draft of the city’s Strategic Mobility Plan, released on May 20. Aspiring to improve the quality and quantity of public transit in Charlotte, among other goals, the plan proposes 173 miles of bikeways.

Progress for bicyclists is already underway, as a protected bike lane in uptown was opened in April, and in May, officials announced plans for a “parallel bike boulevard” in neighborhoods along Beatties Ford Road.

Decades of policies have prioritized cars, though, and realizing these new goals may be costly — the roughly 2-mile segment recently completed in uptown cost about $7 million.

The city has scheduled a public hearing for the Strategic Mobility Plan on June 13, and City Council will consider adopting it on June 27.

Hop on your bike with Charlotte Talks as we consider the road ahead for two-wheel transit in the Queen City.

GUESTS

Ed McKinney, deputy director of the Charlotte Department of Transportation

Shannon Binns, founder and executive director of Sustain Charlotte

Ely Portillo, assistant director of Outreach & Strategic Partnerships at UNC Charlotte

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Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.