King Street below Line Street

In August 2019, the Charleston Moves team joined the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and their consultants, the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG), the City of Charleston, Charleston Police Department and Lowcountry Local First on a Road Safety Audit (RSA) of King Street below Line Street. This street is the 3rd most dangerous corridor in the state. The intent of the RSA is to assess the conditions and make suggestions for improvement in order to make the road safe and functional for all users. Included in the RSA are existing plans as well, such as People Pedal. Charleston Moves supplied relevant data from our “Close Calls” database. Planners and engineers across agencies will rely on this document as they develop safety improvement projects for the corridor. Both the City and state have begun developing projects for implementation out of the report.



During the meeting, as requested by Councilmember Gregorie, the Mayor gave an update for proceeding with the Downtown Safety Improvements project, which includes the heavily-debated King Street bike lane.

In discussions with SCDOT Secretary Hall, the Mayor has requested for King Street to be placed toward the end of the project, meaning SCDOT’s recommended improvements to St. Philip, Calhoun and Meeting Streets would proceed first, with King Street to follow. While work is underway for the other corridors, the City would form a committee to create a community-generated design for lower King Street, that would then become a pilot project. This process is expected to take 6-9 months, with a 2-3 month assessment once the pilot is installed. To be clear, this community design process would happen concurrently with the other corridors working toward construction, as to not hold up the entire project further.

SCDOT would need Council to approve an updated municipal agreement, so stay tuned for that to be on an upcoming agenda.

You can watch the 9/12 Council discussion, starting at 1:29:45, HERE.


As you may recall from our August recap, the King Street bike lane debate has been drawn out in order for the City to hear more from “stakeholders.” Let’s be clear: EVERYONE is a stakeholder when it comes to the safety and accessibility of our shared public spaces. And we’re going to need you to stay engaged and VOCAL.

The September 12 City Council agenda has a request from Councilmember Gregorie for an update on this project (item J.1). A vote is unlikely, but we encourage you to submit comments in advance or attend the meeting and speak in support of the King Street Bike Lane during the Citizens Participation period (agenda item H).

Sign up in advance or submit comments in advance by NOON, Monday September 11 HERE (select “City Council,” and then choose whether you’re submitting comments or want to sign up to speak). You can also sign up to speak at City Hall immediately prior to the meeting, until 5 pm.

Other ways to take action through September 12:

  1. If you own a business or property along King Street, please sign on to our support letter BY September 11. If you know business or property owners along King, please share this with them.
  2. We’re launching a “King Street Stakeholder” social campaign. Swing by our office on September 5, 6 or 8 to pick up a campaign sticker. You’ll be asked to walk/bike down to lower King, snap a selfie with your sticker, and post to your socials. This is a blitz campaign JUST this week! Please take a couple minutes to help. Our office is at 478 King Street, 2nd floor — end of the piazza (above the Silver Dollar); stop by between 9:30 am and 6 pm.
  3. If you’ve yet to sign our petition, please do so.


The King Street bike lane debate was in front of Charleston City Council last night, 8/15. Despite YET ANOTHER overwhelming public demonstration of support for SCDOT’s buffered bike lane recommendation, Council took action to defer the vote.

As you may recall, in last week’s Traffic & Transportation Committee meeting, they pushed forward a recommendation to proceed with the City redesign of King Street that includes a 14′ travel lane and no dedicated bicycle infrastructure. In response to Chairman Seekings’ Committee “report” at last night’s full council meeting, Councilmember Gregorie asked important clarifying questions and made salient points, including:

  • “Are we suggesting that South Carolina DOT’s first option with the bike lane … that they recommended something to us that was not safe?”
  • “Who then decided that DOT’s plan was not the safest plan? Was it [the Traffic & Transportation] Committee?”
  • “I would argue that … the South Carolina Department of Transportation brings much more expertise to the table, hopefully, hopefully, than we do. And therefore, whatever they recommended to me, I would assume was the safest plan.”
  • “Why can’t we just make this safe for all modes? Why are we focusing on cars and not people? The plan before us is car-centric. Period.”

Councilmember Parker made a motion to defer taking action, stating: “we’ve heard from the cyclists, we’ve heard from the community, we need to hear from the stakeholders as well.” 

It was made abundantly clear during the meeting by certain decision makers, and in the phrasing of the motion, that the valued “stakeholders” do not include the thousands of community members who have participated so far. Rather, those “stakeholders” are a specific subset of business owners located in the 300 block of King Street. A catastrophic injury lawyer said it best during public comment when he explained: “We are all stakeholders. … It’s not just the business owners who are stakeholders. … There is no commercial interest that’s greater than the human interest.” You can watch the recorded meeting HERE; citizen participation starts at 44:49, and council discussion starts at 3:42:07.

SCDOT has made public a “Summary of Events” timeline for this project, listing what took place following the initial, multi-disciplinary Road Safety Audits (RSAs) conducted in 2019-20. Notable activities include:

  • 2/1/22: Initial Project Introduction Meeting with City of Charleston
  • 3/11/22: Meeting with Mayor Tecklenburg and City of Charleston for Municipal Agreement Introduction
  • 8/4/22: Public Information Meeting
  • 12/8/22: Meeting with Lower King Street Business Owners and Charleston Downtown Alliance Members
  • 12/16/22-1/15/23: Survey period for survey that City of Charleston performed 
  • 3/8/23: Meeting with Mayor Tecklenburg to discuss changes to lower King Street proposal
  • 3/31/23: Meeting with Mayor Tecklenburg, BCDCOG, College of Charleston, City of Charleston Department of Traffic & Transportation to finalize lower King Street layout

The prioritized stakeholders have been engaged — directly and in private meetings — since December 2022. The result of those meetings is the unsafe 14′ wide travel lane design.

With deferral, Council is now waiting for some information to be put together before they take up the issue again, including a cost estimate for widening sidewalks on King from Calhoun to Market Streets, and a traffic analysis of closing King to cars between Calhoun and Liberty Streets. What is unclear to us is when Council will take up the issue again, and how long SCDOT will continue to wait for the City to have this debate before they walk away from the project.

P.S. — At every opportunity, the majority of the public has stated their support for SCDOT’s recommendations:

  • At the August 15, 2023 City Council meeting, 71% of in-person comments and 100% of online comments were in support of the bike lane.
  • At the August 9, 2023 Traffic & Transportation Committee meeting, 98% of participants supported the bike lane and opposed the City’s 14′ lane redesign.
  • In July 2023, the City received nearly 4,000 emails supporting the bike lane.
  • A City of Charleston survey summarized in February 2023 showed 57% of respondents supported the bike lane.
  • Charleston Moves’ petition has over 1,000 unique signatures supporting the bike lane.
  • During SCDOT’s August 2022 public input period, 93% of comments supported the bike lane and/or didn’t oppose it.