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Nonprofit working to make Charlotte a more bike-friendly, pedestrian-friendly city

Walkscore.com ranks Charlotte as the 49th most walkable large city in the U.S. That's not great.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A lot of people discovered bike riding and walking during the pandemic but Charlotte is not known as a pedestrian-friendly city.

Walkscore.com ranks Charlotte as the 49th most walkable large city in the U.S. That's not great. And they cite a lack of bike lanes as another issue. But Sustain Charlotte is seeking solutions, one neighborhood at a time.

During the height of the pandemic, trying to buy a new bike often left people spinning their wheels. Bike shop shelves were bare as more and more people tried to get around on two wheels.

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"More people picked up biking and walking but it's not easy in this city,"  Shannon Binns, the founder of Sustain Charlotte, said. "We’ve got a lot of work to do, unfortunately."

"We're making progress but we need more safe places for people to walk and bike," he added. 

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Binns worked with neighbors in Plaza Midwood to help get make changes in March 2020.  And just this month there was a ribbon-cutting for new bike lanes on Parkwood Avenue.

"There are additional crossings added, things to slow the traffic down, improve signal timing and a low for better cycling and pedestrian access to the street," Renee Bradley, a Plaza Midwood resident, said. 

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Sustain Charlotte is also playing a part in helping draft the City of Charlotte’s street map, meant to create clarity for how Charlotte’s streets will look in the future. Binns said his job is getting easier every day.

"Many more people realized their options were limited because of a lack of safe conditions on many of our roads so it helped us and the city because when they see there are more people, it makes it easier to justify those changes and investments," Binns said. 

Sustain Charlotte hosts an annual Biketoberfest to help get people out biking. It’s this Sunday and open to everyone. The City of Charlotte is working on the 2040 streets map on a regular basis. The next meeting is this Wednesday.

Contact Michelle at mboudin@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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