The Charlotte Commute
The traffic on I-77 between uptown and the Lake Norman area has always been a hot topic in Charlotte. As more and more neighborhoods, mixed use developments and robust communities were built off of the I-77 corridor, traffic reflected the growth of the north side of town.
In an effort to alleviate some of the pains of bumper to bumper traffic the NCDOT made plans for a toll road to be added to I-77. That became another hot topic in Charlotte. But, the discussions are quickly becoming a reality.
Residents of North Charlotte will see some relief from rush hour traffic as early as the first quarter of 2019. It was just announced that the northern part of the project form Exit 36 to just above Hambright Road will open sometime in early 2019 and the rest of the project will open sometime during the summer months.
If you are considering a relocation to the Charlotte area, understanding the traffic patterns and how they will affect your commute is important. People relocating from larger cities sometimes discount the amount of traffic that we experience.
It is true that Charlotte is considered a mid-size city and the suburbs seem to be geographically close to the uptown area. When we moved back here from St. Louis we were excited because the suburb of Chesterfield that we had lived in was 27 miles from our downtown offices. We spent an hour each way, on a good day, every day. The 8-16 mile distance that we were looking at from the suburbs to uptown Charlotte seemed right around the corner in comparison.
What we didn’t consider is the density of the population. Out of curiosity I put together the following table of cities that we have experienced a relocation to and the demographics of density and population for each. If the city you are relocating from isn’t on here, you can look at Wikipedia and get the density and metro population numbers to compare to Charlotte. That will give you a really good idea of how traffic will compare.
City Density Population Per Sq Mile Rank
Los Angeles 8,483 sq miles 13,131,431 1,547 2nd
Dallas 3,876 sq miles 7,233,323 1,866 4th
Baltimore 7,501 sq miles 2,808,175 374 20th
St. Louis 4,985 sq miles 2,807,338 563 21st
Charlotte 2,400 sq miles 2,474,314 1,030 22nd
Orlando 2,634 sq miles 2,387,138 906 24th
I threw in Los Angeles since it is known for its traffic. And, while Mark has lived in Orlando and the rush hour traffic was some of the worst he has experienced, we all know that The Happiest Place on Earth may have something to do with that. But, when you look at the number of people per square mile in Charlotte you start to understand location and commute are important aspects of your relocation and choosing where to live.
Mark and I have been transferred and relocated to the Charlotte area 4 times between us. We’ve lived all over the city and can help you to determine what area is best for you.