Transit: it’s just a way to get there. Many transportation projects become infrastructure driven, building rail for its own sake. In Charlotte, though, the leaders recognize that transit is only half the equation. What’s really needed is a different way of living, one that transit is an integral part of — and viewing transit as an isolated solution won’t get you there.
Debra Campbell, planning director for the city of Charlotte, interviewed by Zach Patton in Governing magazine:
Transit is a means; it’s not the end. The end is high-quality development and a way for us to promote better development to make sure we’re better stewards of our community and the environment.
It’s also about giving lifestyle choices. Charlotte had gotten to the point where there was really only one lifestyle: suburban half-acre lots. We will never ever do away with our suburban cul-de-sac communities. They’ll always be a choice for our residents…
We never, ever, ever said transit was going to be a panacea. It’s just about providing a choice. A big part of that was bringing in the transit folks, the engineers, the planners and the developers to talk to the public, so it wasn’t just seen as a transit project.
That monoculture of suburban half-acre lots will ultimately drive many more people away from Sunbelt cities — I’m certainly not the only one.