Articles about Environment and Planning

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How to Appreciate a Brown-Eyed Susan
   September 22, 2020
Ruth Ann Grissom

I wasn’t especially fond of brown-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia triloba). They strike me as having a superficial and relentless cheer – like a clerk who automatically chirps Have a great day! when you’re clearly miserable.

But they freely seed around our yard in the Uwharries, and my garden in Charlotte was bare, so I transplanted several clumps. They pop...

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Charlotte expands bus rapid transit to a new corridor
   September 9, 2020
Ely Portillo

Charlotte City Council voted Tuesday to expand a pilot program for bus-only lanes onto a second, longer stretch of local roadway, in what could be a model for a more extensive reworking of the city’s bus system. 

Crews will soon begin work to restripe and reconfigure about 2.5 miles of Central Avenue from Eastway Drive to the former Eastland Mall site, converting one general-purpose...

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Can the city, county work together to solve transportation issues?
   August 26, 2020
Ely Portillo

“We cannot do this individually. If we try to attack these problems in our own lanes only, we will only succeed at failing.”

“Everything we embark on needs an intergovernmental framework and strategy to move forward.”

“We truly are breaking down silos that exist in government.”

That’s City Council members Tariq Bokhari, Braxton Winston and Matt Newton speaking Tuesday...

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Greater funding could improve access to our public lands
   August 17, 2020
Ruth Ann Grissom

“The public wants access to the land it already owns,” observed Jay Leutze, conservationist and author of Stand Up That Mountain. That sentiment was the driving force behind support for the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), recently signed into law after receiving wide bipartisan support in...

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The coronavirus is starting to reshape transit in Charlotte
   August 13, 2020
Ely Portillo

In the sixth month of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic, few sectors of the economy or local government services have been hit as hard as transportation and transit.

The viral outbreak and ensuing lockdowns caused transit ridership numbers to plummet nationwide as millions of people stayed home or avoided trains and buses if they had to go somewhere. The Centers for Disease Control even...

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Mapping Charlotte’s lost buildings: Demolitions on the rise again
   August 10, 2020

Nathan Griffin
Charlotte’s aging buildings are being torn down at an alarming rate, the product of a fast-growing population and strong real estate market. Read more


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Opinion: Why saving NOAH won’t solve our housing crisis
   August 5, 2020

John Huson
It’s no secret that Charlotte, like the rest of the US, has a housing affordability crisis. This is the result of two main factors: We don’t have enough housing units and the housing that we have is too expensive for many of our families. Read more


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Three new approaches to historic preservation in Charlotte
   August 4, 2020
Ely Portillo
A shiny new skyline, a “New South” city, 150,000 new residents since in the last decade — however people describe Charlotte, the word “new” always seems to be one of the first on their tongues. That’s to be expected in a fast-growing city like Charlotte. But it’s also part of the reason Charlotte has a reputation for being a city with little regard for its history, always distracted by the quest... Read more


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In spite of a pandemic, city planning isn’t slowing down
   July 23, 2020
Ely Portillo
With the coronavirus crisis in its fifth month, Charlotte planning director Taiwo Jaiyeoba has noticed something odd: Despite massive disruptions, his staff is actually completing some work more quickly. Plan reviews are faster. Advisory committees now meeting virtually are seeing 100% attendance. And developers have asked if they can continue to have the option of virtual meetings to go over... Read more


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Charlotte’s losing its green canopy, despite efforts to save trees
   July 13, 2020
Ely Portillo
Doug Shoemaker
Charlotte is losing over three football fields a day worth of trees. That’s the sobering conclusion of a study by the University of Vermont in collaboration with TreesCharlotte, detailing how development, age, storms and other factors have cut down Charlotte’s tree coverage. The percentage of Charlotte covered by tree canopy fell from 49% to 45% of the city between 2012 and 2018. Read more