Articles

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Finally, biking in uptown without fear
   January 13, 2022
Ely Portillo

Pedaling through uptown last week alongside cars and pedestrians, I felt something that I’ve rarely felt before on city streets: Relaxed. 

That’s because I was riding not in lanes of traffic or in a tiny, painted “bike lane,” but in a full-sized, two-way, striped and painted lane for bicycles, separated from cars by a concrete...

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An ‘economic halo’ for rural churches in North Carolina
   January 11, 2022
Ely Portillo

In small towns across North Carolina, churches function as more than places of fellowship and gathering for people — they’re also de facto economic engines. 

...

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Podcast: How parking can strangle a city, and what to do about it
   January 5, 2022
Ely Portillo

Abundant, convenient, cheap — or even free — parking, right where you want it, so you can drive up to your destination and find a space right by the door.

Sounds great, right? Maybe so — unless that abundant parking is killing your city. Donald Shoup is a distinguished research professor at UCLA in the department of urban planning. His work has...

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Garden journals offer a window into our changing world
   January 4, 2022
Ruth Ann Grissom

At the beginning of 2021, I was on the hunt for an app to help me keep better records of my vegetable garden. 

After exploring several options, I decided they were all too cumbersome and fussy. If I provided all the information they demanded, I worried I’d spend more time on data entry than digging, planting, weeding and harvesting combined. So I kept using my tried-and-true, pocket-...

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A transit tax vote (maybe). Gaping budget holes. Recovering ridership? Key transit trends to watch in 2022
   December 16, 2021
Ely Portillo

With 2021 fading into the blessed rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look ahead at what transit controversies, developments and questions are looming further down the track in 2022. 

The past year was, once again, wracked by the pandemic and uncertainty about how — even whether — Charlotte can fund the infrastructure to move people from Point A to Point B as the city grows. But it...

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Explore everything from residential segregation to how much trash you generate with new maps
   December 15, 2021
Ely Portillo

Which parts of Charlotte use the most water? Where is our growth eating up whatever vacant land is left in Mecklenburg County? Where are the racial, economic and other dividing lines that crisscross our community?

You can answer these questions and more with the updated Quality of Life Explorer maps published online today. A joint venture between...

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Charlotte leaders start wrestling with state transportation budget shortfall
   December 8, 2021
Ely Portillo

Charlotte leaders say they won’t know the full impact of a nearly $12 billion funding shortfall for state road improvements until sometime next year, but a pair of projects in University City give a hint on what the funding gap might look like in concrete terms.

Think delays for needed roads, bridges and interchanges, plus more local money to fill the hole left by the N.C. Department...

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Natural wonder: Reflecting on leaves, sky and more
   December 2, 2021
Ruth Ann Grissom

Editor's note: As we approach the climax of the hectic holiday season, let's take a minute to step back and reflect on that natural wonder all around us in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. 

At the beginning of November, I challenged myself to pause for a moment every day to contemplate and appreciate something in the natural world — a month of giving thanks.

I...

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Charlotte’s new focus on regionalism in transit brings more people to the table, but can they all agree on a vision?
   December 2, 2021
Ely Portillo
Tony Mecia

If all the pieces fall into place, some day in the future a new light rail train will pull out of the station at the Central Piedmont Community College Levine Campus in Matthews and head south into Union County.

It will turn down a two-lane country road lined with pine trees; run alongside U.S. 74, where there’s a stop at the Atrium Health Union West hospital in Stallings; then pull...

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Five things to watch as Charlotte grows in 2022
   November 30, 2021
Ely Portillo

Despite the pandemic and economic uncertainty, 2021 was a banner year for Charlotte, with major developments announced, a long-awaited new vision plan for the city and big – if uncertain – steps towards a new transit plan.

The city’s growth isn’t expected to slow in 2022, but the ways in which Charlotte grows could change. City leaders will be trying to finalize new zoning and...

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