Centralina and Metropolitan Transit Commission officially endorse plan
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Oct. 29, 2021 – The wheels are in motion for the greater Charlotte region to implement a comprehensive transportation system. Project partners, Centralina Regional Council and the Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC), have voted to officially endorse the CONNECT Beyond regional mobility plan.
This initiative is a first-of-its-kind plan that serves as a blueprint for how to implement a robust, interconnected network combining high-capacity transit lines, enhanced bus service and other innovative mobility solutions. CONNECT Beyond will cover a diverse area, crossing the dashed lines that split the Charlotte region including 12 counties, two states, four Metropolitan Planning Organizations, one Rural Planning Organization and two state Departments of Transportation.
“Over the past two decades, our region has experienced unprecedented growth and remained resilient through turbulent cycles. Access to safe, reliable, affordable and well-connected public transportation is critical so that everyone can benefit from this economic prosperity,” said Geraldine Gardner, Executive Director of Centralina Regional Council.
Mecklenburg County is part of the plan’s 12-county region which consists of Anson County, Cabarrus County, Cleveland County, Gaston County, Iredell County, Lincoln County, Mecklenburg County, Rowan County, Stanly County, and Union County in North Carolina and the urbanized areas of Lancaster County and York County in South Carolina.
“Time is our most incredible asset that each and every one of us have. And augmenting times becomes a determining factor in which mode of transportation we will choose as we are moving throughout the region,” said John Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Charlotte Area Transit System. “This is an issue of competitiveness. Being able to give individuals back the most amount of time in their commute and allows them more time pursuing business ventures, spending time with family and enhancing quality of life. And much of that is tied to our transportation system and our ability to connect.”
CONNECT Beyond includes more than 150 recommendations that fit into the following five categories, known as Mobility Moves: Creating Mobility-Friendly Places, Expanding Mobility Choices, Strengthening Rural to Urban Connections, Building a Better Bus Network and Investing in Strategic Mobility Corridors.
Some of the many ways the plan would impact Mecklenburg County include: expanding sidewalk, bike and trail connections to downtowns and major employment centers; making it easier for riders to figure out how, when and where to use public transportation options to get to jobs, school, medical services and recreation; and supporting efforts for additional transfer opportunities for CATS riders. For more county information about CONNECT Beyond, visit https://centralina.org/regional-collaboration/regional-transit/ and for more detailed plan information, visit https://www.connect-beyond.com/.
The next steps will entail Centralina and MTC working with transportation planning organizations, counties and municipalities within the project area to educate residents, facilitate cross-county coordination and secure resources to support early implementation priorities.
Added Gardner, “We are excited to begin rolling out the plan and working with local entities in the region to customize implementation and ensure mobility solutions for everyone. CONNECT Beyond is our north star in meeting the needs of our growing region.”
Centralina Regional Council is a public organization that was established to serve the needs of the greater Charlotte region, including Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Lincoln, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union counties. Its mission is to strengthen regional collaboration and improve quality of life by facilitating area-wide planning, collaboration and problem-solving, supporting local governments and providing direct health, aging and workforce services to individuals. Through these three levels of engagement and impact, Centralina seeks to unite the greater Charlotte region by a common vision for a thriving and prosperous place to live, work and play. For more information, visit https://centralina.org/.
# # #
PRIMARY – Jenni Walker – Walker PR Group – 980-339-8041-o/704-649-6571-c
SECONDARY – Emily Hickok – Centralina Regional Council – 704-564-3488