Board member spotlight: Ray Addison reflects on his day out

Ray Addison and his son enjoy a day out in the city courtesy of CATS

Ray Addison and his son enjoy a day out in the city courtesy of CATS

“How many of you ride public transportation?”

A Charlotte resident asked that question at the Sustain Charlotte Social Equity and Growth event last week. The event was a public panel discussion with Charlotte City Council members about equity and smart growth.

Equitable and reliable transportation is an essential ingredient for a healthy community. It is a challenge and opportunity for Charlotte as it grows. I realized that I had not used Charlotte’s public transportation in years. If I wanted to contribute to the conversation, I needed the experience.

On Saturday, my son asked if we were going to have fun. I had the perfect idea. The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) offered free rides last weekend in honor of Transit Equity Day, which fell on what would have been Rosa Parks’ 111th birthday. I packed snacks (and wipes) and we made our way to the light rail station. We talked about Rosa Parks’ legacy and enjoyed the scenery as we traveled uptown.

Here is what I learned and I hope my son will appreciate one day.

  • Charlotte is a wonderful city. It is beautiful in ways that can’t be appreciated from a car.
  • Charlotte is growing VERY FAST.
  • Many people sacrificed for us to have transportation options.
  • We still have a long way to go (and a responsibility) to ensure residents can access affordable and reliable transportation.

This post doesn’t end with me selling my car or asking you to sell yours. I ask that you consider your options and try alternate forms of transportation – bus, rail, bike, scooter, or all of the above. Although everyone’s experience will be different, it will open your eyes to where Charlotte is, where it is going, and its potential.

Sustain Charlotte Board Member Ray Addison is VP and CMO with Go-Station


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