What does Charlotte’s Strategic Mobility Plan mean for cyclists? Here are 5 big takeaways

Woman bikes in front of bright mural

Charlotte City Council is set to vote on the Strategic Mobility Plan on June 27. We support the plan and consider it a crucial step in creating safe and equitable mobility choices for everyone in our city.

This is Part 1 in a series highlighting how the Strategic Mobility Plan will transform the ways people can safely and efficiently get around Charlotte. To kick things off, we’ll take a look at the plan’s benefits for cyclists.

What is Charlotte’s Strategic Mobility Plan?

The Strategic Mobility Plan is the Charlotte Department of Transportation’s blueprint for changing how people move around town. It includes plans to improve public transportation, make the city more walkable, and implement a connected and safe network of bicycle paths. This is an exciting step forward for our city, and it’s integral to Charlotte becoming more sustainable and economically competitive with its peers.

It could help connect greenways across the Charlotte region

If the Strategic Mobility Plan passes, the City of Charlotte would continue to coordinate with Mecklenburg County in building out regional greenway connectivity. This combination of urban trails and greenways would result in a “superhighway” of safe and protected paths, with the master plan calling for a total of 308 miles stretching from as far south as Rock Hill, South Carolina, to as far north as Statesville, North Carolina — and with connections from west to east. The network is already on pace to be 24% complete by the end of 2023.

Pictured: Page 22 of the Strategic Mobility Plan, at right, highlights the Greenway and Urban Trails Master Plan

Pictured: Page 22 of the Strategic Mobility Plan, at right, highlights the Greenway and Urban Trails Master Plan

Charlotte could get more (good) bike lanes

The Strategic Mobility Plan calls for the “standard” bike lane (i.e., just a strip of paint) to no longer be the default. Instead, there would be more multi-use paths, two-way separated bike lanes, and protected bike lanes. The current layout showcases a network of bicycle lanes where protected lanes are in the majority.

It will expand access to Charlotte-area parks

The Strategic Mobility Plan would create bicycle paths that lead to some of the Charlotte area’s most popular outdoor recreation sites, such as the U.S. National Whitewater Center, Lake Norman, and several nature preserves.

Not wanting to bike to those places just to ride the trail? Don’t sweat it! The public transportation network that the Strategic Mobility Plan has in store would allow you to easily take your bike to these scenic destinations. You can just ride your bike to the nearest transportation hub, get on the bus or rail, and enjoy not having to worry about finding parking at the trailhead.

Charlotte’s Bicycle Advisory Committee would have a bigger role

Charlotte’s Bicycle Advisory Committee is an open board of volunteers that meets regularly to discuss the city’s bicycle mobility plans. The committee does a lot, but the Strategic Mobility Plan would elevate it even more, with an expansion of the committee’s role into a partner of the Charlotte DOT. The City would support the committee as the chief residents’ advisory group for bicycle-related issues and get recommendations in accordance with making a culture that educates, promotes, and welcomes cycling. The Bicycle Advisory Committee has routinely been an active voice for cyclists in Charlotte, and to see the city embrace it more is a huge step in both citizen engagement and cyclist safety!

Charlotte could become a silver-level bicycle-friendly city

Currently, the League of American Bicycles designates Charlotte as a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community. We know that Charlotte can be better and do better, though, and the Strategic Mobility Plan has the stated goal of earning the city a silver-level designation for bicycle friendliness. That would involve improvements across several areas, including an increase in the share of people commuting by bicycle, more arterial streets with bike lanes, and a reduction in crashes. You can compare designations in a chart here.

How to voice your support for the strategic mobility plan

Charlotte City Council will vote June 27 on adopting the Strategic Mobility Plan. Here’s an easy way to contact your representatives and let them know you support the Strategic Mobility Plan!

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