City of Charlotte Opens Separated Bike Lanes on Fifth and Sixth Streets
Cory Burkarth
Cory.Burkarth@charlottenc.gov
4/18/2022
Uptown CycleLink

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bump
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good morning we're going to get this
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program started if um anybody that's
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kind of behind me if you guys want to
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move in front you're more than welcome
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to
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i know the speakers appreciate having
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everybody out front
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well my name is will washam
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i'm the bicycle program coordinator with
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the charlotte department of
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transportation and would like to welcome
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everybody here to this ceremony
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commemorating the completion of the
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fifth sixth street cycle track as we
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celebrate a milestone achievement for
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the city of charlotte
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as you will hear today it took strong
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partnership bold leadership
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and effective implementation to bring a
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project of this nature to the finish
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line
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it took support of city leaders like our
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council manager department directors
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and a large team of dedicated public
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servants and professionals who have
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helped us make it here today
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it's my honor to represent them
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and there are way too many folks to
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mention them individually so let's all
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give a big round of applause to all the
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folks that worked on this project over
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the years
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as we made it to the ribbon cutting
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in december of 2017 i attended a local
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transportation conference and i heard a
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presentation from vivian coleman then
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the planning division director for the
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charlotte department of transportation
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and todd delk of stewart engineering
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they presented a grand vision for
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developing
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a separated bike lane network in uptown
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charlotte
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that presentation and vision impacted me
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so greatly that i knew that i wanted to
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work on that project
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the following spring i had the
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opportunity to apply for a position with
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cdot
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which is where i currently serve as the
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bicycle program coordinator and wouldn't
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you know got to work on the project that
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we're celebrating today
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todd delk worked for stuart engineering
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and his firm had just been awarded the
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contract for the 6th street cycle track
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when i began here in cdot
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and as the project manager todd
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immediately reached out to me
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took me to lunch and shared how we were
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going to make this project happen
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together
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todd was a fearless champion for cycling
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infrastructure and he worked tirelessly
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to engage our community to bring this
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vision to life
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for our core public engagement events
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todd put all our boards all of our
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tables in the back of his bike in the
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bike trailer and we rode all around
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uptown charlotte setting up our
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materials and bringing the news of this
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project to the people
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todd sadly passed away on october 8 2019
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when this project's design was more than
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halfway completed
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todd's family lost a son a brother a
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partner and our team here
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lost our navigator as todd had shown us
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the way up until that point
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and after todd's passing the team
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rallied together
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keeping todd in our hearts and minds and
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we have made it to the finish line today
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to open this project for all the public
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of charlotte to enjoy
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and the city team is proud to honor todd
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with a plaque right here behind me in
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fourth ward park to memorialize todd's
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contributions to the community so let's
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all give a big round of applause to
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celebrate todd and his achievements here
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with this
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project working alongside todd was our
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city core team and so i do want to
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recognize those folks we have a lot of
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them here today matt magnasco from
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charlotte department of transportation
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vivian coleman our former planning
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section manager
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scott curry sporting the uptown cycle
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link shirt
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jimmy rein our implementation manager on
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the project
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christy kennedy our engineering project
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manager
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and our consultant team of caitlin tobin
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ted duncan and jamie bassinger and
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everyone else on the project thank you
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guys so much
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[Applause]
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this project has truly pushed the
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boundaries for the city's transportation
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and engineering in charlotte and we're
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not done yet in fact this project is
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just the beginning of the implementation
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of the entire uptown cycle link network
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which when completed will connect
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thousands of charlatans on all sides of
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the city into and across uptown
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so it's my pleasure to introduce our
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next speaker in our program to talk more
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about this project's impact charlotte
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city council member larkin eggleston
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please welcome him
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thank you will
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i feel like we might be about to get a
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rainbow out here which would be apropos
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somebody keep an eye out for it i can't
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see it now
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i am larkin eggleston i'm the district
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one representative on charlotte city
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council and half of this project is in
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district 1. i know my colleague malcolm
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graham wanted to be here today he
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represents district 2 where we are
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standing right now and i do want to
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acknowledge i have my friend and
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colleague dempalaj mara
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is here with us today as well she's been
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a huge champion for this project
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alongside malcolm and myself
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we are committed to making sure that we
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have an inclusive cycling environment
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for people of all ages and abilities to
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be able to safely use their bikes for
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transportation fitness
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and fun
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this project is going to allow people
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from neighborhoods around the city to
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either commute to their jobs uptown or
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just to come into our center city to
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enjoy things from hornets games to
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visiting fort worth park and all the
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amenities that uptown offers saving them
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parking costs reducing traffic obviously
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having a significant impact on our
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environment our air quality and just our
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quality of life
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while we're celebrating these safety
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projects
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it's important to note that we are
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seeing a troubling trend right now in
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speeding and aggressive driving that's
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jeopardizing the safety of all people on
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our roads
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too many of our families in charlotte
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are experiencing the heartbreaking
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tragedy of losing a loved one on our
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streets
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and that is why the city is on a mission
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right now
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to improve traffic safety through our
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vision zero initiative
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vision zero is a data driven approach to
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traffic safety that focuses public
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dollars on areas that statistically
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create the most public benefit
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as we track and chart traffic fatalities
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and injuries and focus our resources on
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those areas that do the most good it's
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important to remember there are people
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and families behind those numbers we
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have a duty to protect them by creating
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safe roadways for everybody
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vision zero seeks to improve public
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safety and end traffic fatalities
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through education enforcement and
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engineering projects like this sixth
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street cycle track
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in addition to the cycle link we have
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recently completed more than 80 traffic
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safety infrastructure projects including
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dozens of new traffic signals nearly 10
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new school zone flashers several
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pedestrian hybrid beacons more than two
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dozen two dozen traffic cameras hundreds
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of new and improved street lights and
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more than 20 miles of new sidewalks so
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we're not just trying to improve the
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infrastructure for people to be able to
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bike through our town but for the many
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people who and shannon's proud of me for
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rocking my like circa 2017
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sustained charlotte shirt who walks clt
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it's going to take a concerted effort by
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all of us to improve the safety on our
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streets and we're committed to
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continuing that work with the community
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to make our streets safer we're excited
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these new bike lanes will provide a
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safer route for cyclists and pedestrians
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while navigating the city we're really
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appreciative of all you being out here
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to help us celebrate it today i'd like
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to invite up next mr michael smith from
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center city partners
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thank you councilman uh congratulations
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to the city of charlotte and to see dot
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for this incredible achievement what a
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great day for our city
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we are so grateful to partner with you
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for this vital piece of infrastructure
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for our community i also want to thank
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sustain charlotte for their partnership
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as we studied and tested protected bike
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lanes
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i love the standard that we've taken it
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to not all cities take it to this
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standard of protected bikeway i think
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it's going to be a great gift for so
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many families and cyclists
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when we released the 2020 center city
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vision plan more than a decade ago
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we set a vision as a community to be the
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most walkable bikeable transit-oriented
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downtown in the southeast
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we called out the aspiration for
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charlotte to become a city of bikes
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and we launched our mission-based bike
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share program charlotte joy rods
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this stretch of protected bike
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infrastructure is an important step in
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us achieving that vision
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it was made possible by a lot of really
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hard work across a lot of partners
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the uptown connect study was completed
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in the summer of 2017 funded by cdot and
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center city partners provided a series
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of recommendations to make cycling
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through uptown safer and more
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comfortable
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that led to a pilot program to test
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temporary bike lanes paint and post
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glad we went beyond peyton post though
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and built broader community support i
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want to give special thanks to some team
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members of mine cheryl myers
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clint mullis who's here with us
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some folks that were megan good
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keith richardson worked with us for a
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while as did kyle bridges
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along with the planning department
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at charlotte center city partners
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they worked on this initiative for years
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thank you also to the city's commitment
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for safe recycling facilities
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we are able to provide important
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connections to our bikeways our
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greenways our trails
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further knitting our community together
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and making cycle commuting more possible
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they increase opportunities for people
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to be able to connect using safe
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sustainable transportation options
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i cannot wait to see the progress that
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we make on future segments of the
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cyclelink network which are all
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represented back here under the tent
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continuing to integrate all the mobility
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networks
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more tightly connecting to that fabric
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of our center city
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thank you for all the partnership and
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the congratulations to all
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it's now my pleasure to introduce
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shannon bims with sustain charlotte
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thank you all
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[Applause]
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good morning good morning
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good to see you
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thanks so much for being here today
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despite a little bit of rain looks like
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the sun's peeking through
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and help us open and celebrate this
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exciting and important addition to
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uptown's growing bike network
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our streets are largest public space
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yet for most of the last century here
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and around the country
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our streets have been designed almost
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exclusively to meet the needs of people
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driving cars
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in doing so
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the safety of people who want or need to
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travel by foot by bike by transit or
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these days by scooter has often been
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overlooked or sacrificed
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the good news is that that is changing
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and today we are celebrating another
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step toward public streets that are
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truly designed for everyone
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and when we redesign our streets for
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everyone
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we move towards being a more inclusive
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and equitable community
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we move towards being a healthier
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community
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we move towards being a safer community
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we move towards being an affordable
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community
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and we move towards being a more
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connected community
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and of course we move towards being a
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more fun community because as you all
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know biking around the city is way more
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fun than driving right
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this protected bike lane
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is especially important because up until
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now there's not been a safe and
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convenient way for people of all ages
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and abilities to travel across uptown by
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bike east to west or west to east
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in recognizing this in march of 2016
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sustained charlotte launched a campaign
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called ibike charlotte with a petition
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asking the city to build a safe
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protected bike lane through uptown
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connecting the little sugar creek
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greenway and irwin creek greenway
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our hope was that connecting these two
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greenways would unlock a larger network
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of protected bike lanes that would allow
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anyone to safely travel by bike whether
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they are eight years old
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or in my daughter's case almost six
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or eight eighty
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within two months of launching the
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campaign over four thousand residents
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including many of you here today
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sign the petition
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in response charlotte d.o.t and center
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city partners immediately began studying
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how to make uptown safer for people on
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bikes
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and one year later as michael mentioned
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in 2017 they recommended the protected
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bike lane we're opening today as well as
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a larger new bike network across uptown
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this network is now called the uptown
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cycle link and you may have seen some
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some other parts of the network that
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have opened in the past two years
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if you haven't seen a map of the of the
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uptown cycle link net yet there's some
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maps here today behind me i encourage
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you to check them out
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and share them on social media
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so today we celebrate the opening of
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this protected bike lane connecting our
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greenways
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and the work underway to build a larger
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safe connected bike network across
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uptown
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of course we not only need a bike uptown
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bike network in uptown but also across
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the entire city connecting all of our
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neighborhoods
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a city where getting safely by bike to
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work
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a friend's house
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a restaurant or a doctor's appointment
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is a possibility for everyone
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this is something we've been advocating
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for and the city has been working toward
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for years
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we have far to go and getting there will
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require all of us to continue expressing
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our desire for safer streets for all
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it will also require a continued
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willingness by city council and city
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staff to challenge the status quo and
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prioritize the safety and needs of all
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residents no matter how they get around
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on that note we are incredibly grateful
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to the city council members including
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council member eggleston and council
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member dempage mara who are here today
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and the mini cdot and center city staff
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who have already been named who
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supported the project despite some early
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opposition to this network
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and we are also grateful for everyone
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who supported the project and spoke up
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for safer streets including many of you
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thanks again for being here today enjoy
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the ride if you're riding and have fun
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thank you
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[Applause]
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well on that note who's ready to cut a
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ribbon and go on a bike ride
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all right awesome well we're gonna get
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the ribbon set up over here
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and while we get that set up i'm going
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to invite everyone to get their bikes
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ready get your helmets on because once
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we cut this ribbon
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we are going to begin the ride with our
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partners at cmpd thank you so much to
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cmpd for their help today
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the route will take us
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westbound we're actually going to go
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through elmwood cemetery get a nice
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scenic loop through the cemetery and
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then we will head eastbound
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all the way across the city we will
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touch the cross charlotte trail and come
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right back to 4th ward park so folks get
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your bikes
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get them staged up near the cycle track
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and once we cut this ribbon we'll go
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riding in just a couple minutes
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[Music]
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shannon look up and smile thank you
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all right
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stick out your scissors
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all right here we go
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[Applause]
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[Music]
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okay
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right here
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do
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you