Articles

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Can a street help heal America’s fractures?
   February 3, 2021
Mary Newsom

I’ll never again look at a city’s Main Street the same way. In Mindy Thompson Fullilove’s newest book, Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All, she does something relatively rare for books about urban issues.

Some focus on cities’ physical attributes, such as low-density single-family sprawl, building design, street...

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Feeling harried? Watch harriers
   February 1, 2021
Ruth Ann Grissom

In January, a month when birders across the state and around the world launch headlong into a rigorous endeavor called a Big Year — in which they rush around a given geographic area trying to see as many species as possible — I hunkered down in the Uwharries and became obsessed with a single species.

The Northern harrier, also known as the marsh hawk, is an enthralling raptor. Harriers...

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Here's what it would take for our park system to reach ‘the Disney model’
   February 1, 2021
Ely Portillo

Parks in Charlotte can be a bit of a touchy subject. The system took a decade to recover funding and staffing levels after the Great Recession, and we’ve consistently placed near the bottom in national rankings for park space, spending and accessibility. 

So last week, Park & Recreation Director Lee Jones laid out three scenarios for the future of Mecklenburg County’s parks: “...

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Plans for the Silver Line are taking shape
   January 26, 2021
Ely Portillo

The multibillion dollar Silver Line light rail is years away, but Charlotte is moving closer to a final vision for the east-west transit line that could reshape much of Charlotte.

This week, the Charlotte Area Transit System presented a more detailed map of the proposed routes and stops. It’s an ambitious undertaking: At roughly 26 miles, the Silver Line would be nearly twice as long...

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Charlotteans got 46 hours back from traffic last year
   January 20, 2021
Ely Portillo

It’s obvious that there were a lot fewer cars on the road last year, as we worked from home, kept kids out of school and stopped driving to sports games, concerts and dinners with friends. But you still might be surprised just how much time Charlotte drivers recovered from congestion: Nearly two full days.

That’s according to the 2020 Traffic Index from ...

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Autonomous vehicles, flying taxis and...buses? Balancing present and future needs
   January 14, 2021
Ely Portillo

How do you plan for the future and dream big while attending to the pressing needs of the day?

It’s a question that came up pointedly during Charlotte City Council’s annual planning retreat this week. With 385,000 people projected to move to Charlotte over the next couple decades, the city is grappling with increasing congestion and questions about how we’ll move around the community...

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What a 1944 call for planning can teach us today
   January 6, 2021
Ely Portillo

Almost eight decades ago, Charlotte had just topped 100,000 residents, World War II raged, legal segregation was the law of the land and most of Mecklenburg County was still farmland.

But despite the obvious differences from today, an urgent call in 1944 for the city to develop a plan to manage its growth still resonates in Charlotte, a city that’s long been convinced it was headed for...

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How to get outside in difficult weather conditions
   January 5, 2021
Crystal Cockman

In addition to everything else in 2020, we had more than our fair share of rain. In fact, by early November we had already seen 53 inches of rain in the Triad region of North Carolina, which is well over a foot above our normal rain level for an average year. Charlotte received almost 59 inches of rain in 2020, far above average as well.

For someone who enjoys outdoor recreation as a...

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Introducing 'Future Charlotte,' a podcast about our city's growth
   January 4, 2021
Ely Portillo

Charlotte is a city with growth embedded in its DNA, a community where striving to be "world-class" has both propelled us forward and papered over many disparities just beneath the surface. 

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Keeping a garden journal in 2021
   January 4, 2021
Ruth Ann Grissom

The end of the year is a natural time for reflection, but does anyone really want to dwell on 2020? I imagine we’re all yearning for the chance to move forward, to put that dreadful year behind us, make a fresh start and take charge of our lives.

In 2021, my resolution is to keep a garden journal. I don’t aim to become an obsessive record-keeper like Thomas Jefferson. A weekly, or even...

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