The good and the bad: Charlotte's driving addiction
Are residents of Charlotte driving more than everybody else in the United States?
Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 18:25
It's a known fact to the residents of the Queen City — the morning and evening commute can be quite heinous. Accidents and traffic jams make driving around Charlotte less of a picnic. In general, driving across metro Charlotte can be not only difficult but incredibly time-consuming. This is an issue somewhat unique to the residents of this area. According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, Charlotte drivers "log 1,000 more miles a year" when compared to the average American driver. In addition, local commuters use public transit "half as much" as average Americans. I think it's fair to say that metro Charlotte has a slight car addiction.
This issue has placed financial and environmental burdens on Charlotte drivers. Local commuters spend an extra $350 a year in driving expenditures. Now to be fair, it's common that addictions are fueled by an external problem. In Charlotte's case, the transit system remains underdeveloped. The LYNX Blue Line has served as an positive environmental and economic catalyst for Uptown and South End. The remainder of metro Charlotte is ready to reap the benefits of mass transit. Before the end of the decade, LYNX will provide light-rail service to both North Charlotte and University City. For the U-City commuters, imagine not having to battle those "traffic wars" daily to get to work in Uptown. Not only does using the transit system reduce carbon emissions, it puts money back in your wallet. This move could save urban commuters $931 and rural commuters about $2,163. Those savings can become part of your "shoe fund" or part of your "night-on-the-town fund."
So this is where things stand: Charlotte has a driving addiction that needs breaking. Hopefully the growing light-rail transit system will help wean Charlotteans off the wheel. For now commuters must make a conscious choice about their driving habits to mitigate carbon emissions.
Related on MNN: California dreaming: L.A. imagines life without cars
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