Charlotte Transportation | Growth in Alternative Transportation
Many of Charlotte’s major neighborhoods are surrounded (mostly) by I-485. Although still under construction in the northwestern portion of the highway, I-485 is a convenient loop offering access to many of Charlotte’s neighborhoods. I-277 loops around Uptown making it a convenient way of traveling around Center City as well as neighborhoods adjacent to it. Other major interstates include I-77 which leads in and out of Charlotte and the surrounding area running north and south while I-85 runs east and west. Charlotteans relying primarily on their cars for travel to and from work, or in general, find neighborhoods with quick access to these highways appealing.
Charlotte has made significant improvements in recent years to its bicycle infrastructure. Many communities in and around Charlotte are bicycle friendly and long-term plans have been put in place by the City to continually increase the number of bike lanes and improve the general bicycling conditions throughout the city. Although most neighborhoods continue to improve biking conditions, neighborhoods such as Plaza Midwood, Dilworth, South End and NoDa are those that would be considered some of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods of Charlotte
Charlotte B-Cycle Program
Since hosting the Democratic National Convention in 2013, Charlotte B-Cycle, a bicycle sharing program, has been in place featuring 200 bikes and 24 stations placed throughout Uptown and surrounding neighborhoods. Bikes can be rented on a 24-Hour Pass or an annual membership. This program is very convenient for anyone looking to avoid traffic to and from events in Uptown or just looking to take a leisurely ride through the neighborhood.
Charlotte is home to a number of greenway trails. Greenways stretch over 35 miles throughout Mecklenburg County and offer a host of benefits to the neighborhoods they serve. Whether walking, running or biking, the Charlotte greenway system offers recreational green space and links various neighborhoods in a environmentally friendly way. For many living in Charlotte greenway trails offer access to and from work as well as congestion-free access to other key landmarks throughout Charlotte. With continued improvement and growth the greenway system is quickly becoming one of Charlotte’s great features.
Charlotte’s light rail, known as The Lynx Blue Line is a 9.6 mile commuter rail line running from I-485/South Blvd. to Uptown Charlotte. The Lynx Blue Line is a valued amenity to those commuting between south Charlotte and Uptown for work or looking to visit one of Uptown’s many great restaurants, museums, Time Warner Cable Arena, Bank of America Stadium or BB&T Ballpark. In general the light rail offers a convenient and hassle-free alternative to driving.
The Blue Line Extension is one that would double the length of Charlotte’s current light rail system and would extend the Blue Line from the 7th Street Station in Uptown running through the popular NoDa community and continuing on to University City ending on the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus. The extension broke ground July 2013 and is currently scheduled to open for service in 2017 to considerably enhance Charlotte’s light rail system.
Taxis, Lyft and Uber
There are several taxi companies that serve Charlotte with fares regulated by the city. Most recently internet-based car services such as Lyft and Uber have become popular among residents and visitors to Charlotte. Both companies serve much of Charlotte at a lower rate and often prove to be much more convenient than traditional taxi services.