A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

USA: Toward a More Sustainable Charlotte

I just flew back from Charlotte, North Carolina and obviously my arms aren’t too tired to blog. This week there are a lot of exciting things happening in the Queen City. While there I had the privilege of serving as a panelist alongside local officials and transportation experts. The panel was entitled, “Charlotte: Toward a More Sustainable Future”.

Fittingly, the panel was organized (and moderated) by Shannon Binns, executive director of the organization Sustain Charlotte. Alongside me were a city councilman, an architect/planner, an urban design professor, and a business executive. A video of the well-attended and informative panel discussion can be found here. The gist of the topic was how Charlotte — home of the NASCAR museum! — can become a little less reliant on cars by investing in public transportation.

Here are some of the highlights of the information I shared:

Charlotte ranks 13th amongst the fastest-growing U.S. metropolitan areas. It’s the largest city in North Carolina, with a project regional population growth in excess of 30% between 2010 and 2030. (This followed a 44% growth rate between 1990 and 2010.) Between 1996 and 2007 the growth rate of VMT (vehicle miles traveled) in the area was 29%; the projected VMT growth rate from 2007 to 2030 is a whopping 47%.

In Charlotte, congestion is a major problem — and it’s a growing one. Residents there are facing longer commute times, costing them on average $876 per person per year in wasted fuel and lost time. Today the average resident drives about 20 miles per day (versus 11 miles per day in 1982).

All that driving contributes to Charlotte’s ranking as the 10th smoggiest city in the nation, according to the American Lung Association, causing an alarming number of respiratory illnesses including asthma attacks. All that development has shrunk Charlotte’s tree canopy by 50% since 1985. And all the paved road surfaces also contribute to water pollution problems — one-third of local surface waters are considered “impaired” by EPA and 84% of streams in Mecklenburg County are considered unsafe for swimming.


Leave a Reply