Can Charlotte overcome its love of roads?

The root cause of many of the water quality problems (as well as air quality problems) in our region is bad growth practices - SRAWL. The article below explains some of these issues. CRF has been advocating to encourage smart growth and stop bad growth by working with local governments to develop zoning ordinances that incentivize low-impact development and by working with Clean Air Carolina and Southern Environmental Law Center to challenge projects (such as the proposed Garden Parkway Toll Road) that encourage sprawl.

Can Charlotte overcome its love of roads?

Independence Blvd.

04/18/2015 2:00 AM 


“Walkability” and “mixed use” are hot buzzwords right now in development, as urban planners look to cut down on sprawl, long commutes and the big roadways that dominate much of suburbia.

But in a city like Charlotte that loves its cars, is overcoming “Big Asphalt” – the term some urban planners are using for the sprawl mindset – a realistic goal?

At a forum in Charlotte this week, a dozen architects, engineers and urban design students decried Big Asphalt and called for a return to smaller, more manageable streets that embrace pedestrians and bikes as much as minivans and SUVs.

Their goals sounded admirable and even common-sense. Who doesn’t like a place where you can walk around instead of sit in traffic?

Then, one woman voiced the biggest obstacle to reaching the goal of less sprawl and parking lot-dominated landscapes – a bigger obstacle than the expense of retrofitting existing streets or building more public transit, in my opinion.

“I hate big surface parking lots – except when I need to park my car,” said the audience member, speaking at Charlotte’s monthly Civic by Design forum.


For more information about Catawba Riverkeeper's alliance with Clean Air Carolina to stop sprawl, go to
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