South End Vision Plan, Vision Zero, and a new approach to Charlotte’s zoning update

SouthEnd Vision Plan

Monica Holmes from the city’s Planning Department gave an overview of changes incorporated into the SouthEnd Vision Plan since the previous Transportation and Planning meeting. Check out the full presentation here. During the April Transportation and Planning meeting, members voiced their concern about the absence of affordable housing language in the plan.


Photo courtesy of: Charlotte Agenda

In response, staff recommended four specific language changes to the SouthEnd Vision Plan to address those concerns:

Planning Committee 1

Read the full statement from the Planning Commission regarding affordable housing here.

Council Member Braxton Winston, who is a strong proponent for including affordable housing language in the plan, supported the new demographic information and the intentionality of the plan.

Committee Chair Gregg Phipps said that he wanted to see more solid goals around affordable housing, instead of just a desire to move forward without concrete plans, “It’s important for me to see that we are working toward some goal instead of just a desire to move in a direction without any kind of concrete initiatives.”

The plan was unanimously approved to be sent to the full Council for review on June 11th.


CharlotteFuture 2040 Plan

Next, Charlotte’s Planning Director, Taiwo Jaiyeoba, proposed several options for modifying the current process and timeline for the overhaul of the city’s development rules (commonly referred to as the UDO, or Unified Development Ordinance) in response to feedback the Planning Department received from the public and Council Members. The feedback included a call for a clearer, updated community vision as well as more robust community engagement.

The option that Jaiyeoba recommended would include the creation of a comprehensive plan to guide future growth and development that would take roughly two years to complete called CharlotteFuture 2040. During that time, city staff would engage the public to develop a shared community vision for Charlotte in 2040.

The hope is that by creating a shared vision for the city’s growth, staff will be able to more effectively rewrite the development rules. City staff will continue to work on updating the development rules throughout the process. In fact, Jaiyeoba emphasized that introducing the CharlotteFuture 2040 plan “is not a pause [in the UDO process] but a redirection.”

See below for a list of both near and long-term deliverables that he presented as part of this new approach.

Source: Charlotte Planning Department

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Our Take

CharlotteFuture 2040 and the UDO will heavily influence how we grow, and what kind of city we will become. So it’s is important that we get it right. At the same time, the city began talking about the need to update its development rules in 2013 and just recently announced a commitment to complete the update in June 2020. Without these updated rules in place, we are missing opportunities to get the right land uses in the right places and a higher quality built environment for all. Given this, we know that any further delays to this process will translate into more missed opportunities. And completion of this update will be pushed back once again. Yet, it is incredibly important that Charlotteans have a shared community vision for what we want the city to be. If done in a timely manner, CharlotteFuture 2040 could provide that while building much needed community support.


Vision Zero:

Lastly, Angela Berry, CDOT Traffic Safety, ITS & Special Projects Manager, gave an update on Vision Zero.  Vision Zero is an international strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all.

The proposed FY 2019 City budget includes $2 million in funding for a new Vision Zero program.  Read the entire budget document here.

Berry announced that the annual traffic safety report will be published soon and the results are startling.  Out of the 74 traffic-related fatalities last year, 27 pedestrians were killed trying to cross Charlotte streets. That’s the highest annual number of pedestrian fatalities in Charlotte’s history.

According to Berry, the first step towards reversing this trend is to develop a high injury network (HIN), which is a method for mapping fatal and serious injury crashes.  Vision Zero cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles have used high injury network maps for years to fully tell the story of traffic collisions that occur on city streets. This map will break down fatalities and serious injuries into four categories; those involving automobiles, pedestrians, bicycles and those in the Uptown central business district.

An overlay of demographic and socioeconomic data will then be incorporated to analyze correlation between crash data.  Berry also noted that CDOT will expand data sources to include hospitals to fully understand how and under what conditions people are being killed and injured.

The City is assembling a task force with an external stakeholder committee to inform the creation of its Vision Zero Action Plan.  At the first meeting on June 13th, Sustain Charlotte’s Kate Cavazza will serve as one of three community members asked to take part in the conversation.

Check out Charlotte’s road to Vision Zero fact sheet here.


Senior Mobility Project

We want to thank Council member and Committee Chair Greg Phipps for giving a shout-out to the Senior Mobility Project and the need to focus on seniors when addressing questions of transportation and walkability. Thanks to support from Southminster, we are working with neighborhoods to help seniors overcome mobility challenges.

Are you a Senior? Please take our survey and share it with other seniors!

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