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Spring 2018 Neighbor of the Quarter: Stevan Talevski
April 9 @ 8:00 am - April 23 @ 5:00 pm
Neighbor of the Quarter
Stevan Talevski of The Plaza
Stevan Talevski and his family moved into their dream home on The Plaza in 2015, envisioning fun days spent outdoors in a walkable neighborhood. Quickly, he noticed the traffic down The Plaza wasn’t exactly pedestrian-friendly, however, and he was concerned by the high speeds of drivers.
One day, walking with his 2-year-old daughter, Mila, down The Plaza, the pair were nearly hit by a truck speeding down the road. That proved to be a breaking point for Stevan, and he knew he had to do something.
Partnering with the Plaza Midwood Neighborhood Association, Stevan launched the “Stroll & Roll” campaign as a way to advocate for improved pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Stevan worked hard to spread awareness of the group’s vision and gain support from the community.
Turns out, Stevan hit a nerve. Stroll & Roll’s petition quickly reached more than 1,000 signatures and caught the attention of city leaders. Stevan and his volunteers met with C-DOT and other city leaders, who ultimately brought their petition to then-Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the Charlotte city council, where Stevan spoke about his concerns at the council’s March 2017 public forum.
Because of Stevan’s persistence and help from leaders of Charlotte’s Open Streets event, CDOT agreed to the first ever protected bike lane demonstration in the city, closing off two lanes of traffic along The Plaza for a weeklong test run.
During the event, Stevan setup a B-cycle tent in his front yard and connected with passersby to share the Stroll & Roll vision. It was a hit.
CDOT’s study proved neighbors appreciated the increased safety, and the bike lanes had a significant impact in lowering speeds down The Plaza. After more than two years of work by Stevan and his volunteers, CDOT approved a plan to permanently reduce the traffic on The Plaza and install protected bike lanes.
Getting to this point was not easy, Stevan said, and what started as his determination to protect his family turned into a passion to improve the quality of life for the broader community. Stevan’s hope is that the improvements made in Plaza Midwood will set a precedent for other neighborhoods throughout Charlotte.
“For me, it is a no-brainer that when we build communities conducive to walking and biking, it makes our city a safer, healthier, and happier place to live,” he said.
Now that the bike lane project is underway, Stevan continues to work as an advocate to ensure it is executed in a way that will not only improve safety, but also enhance the overall beauty of our neighborhood and bring the community together, while pushing for more safety measures along the Central Avenue corridor and throughout the neighborhood.