ROAD SAFETY AUDIT: ASHLEY PHOSPHATE

On January 13-14, 2020, the Charleston Moves team joined SCDOT, BCDCOG, Stantec, Palmetto Cycling Coalition, City of North Charleston and Dorchester County representatives on a Road Safety Audit (RSA) of Ashley Phosphate from Dorchester Road to Rivers Avenue. The intent of this exercise is to evaluate existing features and potential enhancements that can be made to improve the safety and function of the roadway for all users. Ashley Phosphate was chosen for an RSA, as crash data proves it to be in the top 10 of South Carolina’s most dangerous corridors.

Characteristics along the study segment included a variety of development and land uses, including low-medium income residential, commercial and industrial. And, as a key transit corridor, there is high ridership and heavy dependency on CARTA. We observed that:

  • crosswalks are sparse and faded (and lack high-visibility paint)
  • street lighting is inconsistent and minimal
  • sidewalks are overgrown with vegetation and sediment
  • bike facilities do not exist
  • many pedestrian push-bottons did not work, and pedestrian countdown signals did not exist

Now that we have identified trends and areas for improvement, a report will be created by Stantec, the consultant. Certain components will necessitate further study, such as targeted bike/ped counts.

We photo-documented our walk to shed light on the current conditions and demonstrate the consequences of designing for cars over people. It’s time we learn from this. Check out our album HERE.

On a related note, we anticipate seeing the RSA reports from 2019’s Meeting and King Streets audits in the next month or so.

ABOUT THE “CLOSE CALLS” DATABASE

Charleston Moves is piloting a project to determine if tracking “close calls” between motorists and people on bike/foot results in identification of hotspots. We will provide those hotspots to the Charleston Police Department for their review and action.

For the purposes of this pilot project, a “close call” is defined as an upsetting, unsafe or harmful incident perpetuated by a motorist while you were biking or walking, and that did not result in a collision. This includes verbal harassment.

We’ve met with the Charleston Police Department to discuss findings from this pilot project, and are excited to report that they have already chosen a few locations to ramp up motorist enforcement. We are extending this program to continue tracking “close calls.” Please log your incidents HERE.

Our “close calls” map based on input between February 4, 2019 and March 4, 2019:

Thanks again to AARP Livable Communities for their generous support of our artistic crosswalks on the West Ashley Greenway!

We loved working with artists, neighborhoods, partner organizations, and City of Charleston to draw attention to these intersections, making it safer for people on bike and on foot as they’re utilizing the Greenway.

Ready for the Greenway to be part of a larger bike/ped network, linking up the region across bridges for people who want to get out of their cars? Make sure to sign our petition to Bridge the Ashley! 

https://www.change.org/p/charleston-county-council-and-charleston-city-council-stop-stalling-bridge-the-ashley

 

ABOUT THE CROSSWALKS

Thanks to a grant from AARP Livable Communities and a mini-grant from the East Coast Greenway Alliance, we wanted to start changing the West Ashley Greenway & Bikeway for the better! Charleston Moves convened a stakeholder group consisting of representatives from the Charleston Parks Conservancy, Charleston City Council, City of Charleston staff, the DuPont Station Neighborhood Coalition, Parkwood/Farmfield Council, South Windermere and Byrnes Downs. We spent several months discussing what improvements are necessary at intersections of the West Ashley Greenway to improve safety and enjoyment of this wonderful path.

We settled on priorities for both temporary and permanent improvements. The temporary improvements are artistic crosswalks, meant to draw attention to people on bikes and foot, encouraging motorists to slow down and share the space safely. Per our agreement with the City, the three crosswalks we painted (using a slip-free concrete stain) are a pilot project. We are required to go back to the City in 3 months and again in 6 months to present reports on maintenance.

With 25 volunteers, the intersections of the Greenway and Braxton, Markfield and Farmfield are now brightened with themed designs. At Farmfield, tennis balls adorn the crosswalk, in honor of the Charleston Tennis Center nearby. At Markfield, a heron stands proudly in marsh grass, since the nearby bird pond is constantly visited by shorebirds. At Braxton, a colorful slide design is a playful tribute to the newly-renovated Randolph Park around the corner.

Please make sure to take our survey about the crosswalks. We hope to use your feedback to guide potential future projects, as well as share with the City of Charleston and Charleston Parks Conservancy.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Bill Eubanks is the creative director at SeamonWhiteside. He is a resident of  Byrnes Downs where he represents the neighborhood on the Ashley Bridge District Board. We made sure that he was at the table for our Greenway intersection discussions. Bill tasked his team with developing several artistic crosswalk designs for Farmfield, and then our stakeholder group voted on the favorite. Bill’s tennis ball design was the winner! Bill is a licensed landscape architect with 37 years of experience, including facilitating design charrettes, brainstorming sessions and community workshops.

Lisa Stine is the president of the newly-incorporated DuPont Station Neighborhood Coalition and has lived in Charleston for over 35 years. She was an integral part of our stakeholder group since she is not only a community representative and leader, but also an artist who specializes in murals. Her designs for the heron at Markfield and the slide at Braxton are simply stunning! Watching her paint the intricate details of the heron’s face was particularly impressive. Lisa has a background in interior design and is currently a realtor for Elaine Brabham and Associates.