SPEAK UP FOR EQUITABLE MOBILITY!

DOWNTOWN CHARLESTON TRANSIT STUDY

Open House
Tuesday, June 11, 4-7 pm
Charleston Library, Main Branch (68 Calhoun St, Community Room B)
A short presentation will be offered each hour, with time to talk to the project team between presentations.

The Downtown Charleston Transit Study is an evaluation of the needs and opportunities to improve transit services for residents, workers, visitors, and current CARTA riders. The study will identify and program investments to develop a refined downtown bus network and transit priority infrastructure. The study will also provide recommendations that align with the implementation of Lowcountry Rapid Transit and BCDCOG’s Long Range Transportation Plan.

Last fall, the consulting team analyzed system operations and heard from community members about changes needed to support commutes and other trips downtown. Then, they presented new concepts for transit service with the public. Draft recommendations have been revised based on community feedback, and now they are ready to share the updated concepts with you.

We suggest sharing with the team the following, in addition to providing them with your comments:

  • update the LCRT design to incorporate signed peak hour bus lanes;
  • ensure first-mile/last-mile bicycle and pedestrian improvements are actually installed, and not simply identified in a plan;
  • make CARTA’s long-term strategic financing plan public, so we can better understand how all of these suggested improvements can be funded (or why they can’t be funded);
  • make the publicly-funded and publicly-owned bus shed and Visitor’s Center a public and equitable bus hub.

MOUNT PLEASANT WAY

Public Meeting
Thursday, June 13, 5-7 pm
Mount Pleasant Senior Center (840 Von Kolnitz Rd, 29464)

The Town of Mount Pleasant is hosting a meeting to receive input on two segments of Mount Pleasant Way:

  1. Venning Trail (US 17 to Rifle Range Road)
  2. Mathis Ferry Trail, Phase 2 (Eagle Street to US 17)

Both trail segments are proposed to be 10-12′ multi-use paths. They are in concept stage; final design will be determined by public input, particularly impacted residents.

If you cannot attend the June 13 public meeting, you are invited to visit the project pages (linked above) for additional details and online surveys.

MAIN ROAD – SEGMENT C

» Online comments DUE June 14 HERE

Six years ago, Charleston County Council approved a phased, three-segment approach to improve access along the Main Road Corridor. These improvements include bicycle and pedestrian facilities, as well as improved drainage. Earlier this week, Charleston County hosted an in-person public information meeting to present their recommended preferred alternative for Segment C of Main Road. The scope incorporates Bohicket Road from Maybank Highway to Betsy Kerrison Parkway. The County’s preferred alternative concept includes:

  • roundabouts at 3 key intersections
  • a multi-use path along one side of the entire segment (winding around trees)
  • a sidewalk from Maybank to Winnsboro
  • widening of the roadway from roughly Clark Hills Circle to Donnelly Lane

Please weigh in online to share your thoughts on the concept, especially if you live along the corridor. We believe there is still plenty of time to refine the design, and the multi-use path in particular could be changed to fit the context of the area. For example, should it be on the other side of the street? Should it be narrowed in certain areas? Should it be pervious? Maybe approaching Betsy Kerrison Parkway, it should become a 5′ sidewalk or a trail, or even just a paved shoulder. Now is your chance to offer your thoughts. This is not an all-or-nothing scenario.

As a reminder, Segment B is an inactive project. Charleston County has begun procuring a Design Build Contract for Segment A, which includes bike/ped connections to the West Ashley Greenway, across the Stono Bridge, to the Stono River County Park, and to the Bees Ferry multi-use path. 

HIGHWAY 41 

» Submit written comments through June 19 HERE

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (SCDHEC-OCRM) is reviewing Charleston County’s critical area permit application for the Highway 41 Corridor Improvements project. You can view more information here. As part of this review process, which included an in-person public hearing on June 5, is your opportunity to comment on the project before any final permit decisions by the agency.

If you missed the public hearing and/or have yet to get your comments on the record, please do so by end of day on June 19.

Here are some talking points we suggest including in your comments:

  1. No amount of widening will ultimately solve traffic congestion; the best chance to mitigate traffic congestion is by splitting the mode share.
  2. The majority of citizens in Phillips, Dunes West and Park West want to be able to walk safely. It’s the common thread, and it’s where the focus of the improvements should be.
  3. We support Phillips’ request for a turn lane and pedestrian crossings.
  4. We support Park West and Dunes West’s request for bike/ped access.
  5. We support the Town of Mount Pleasant’s Mount Pleasant Way plan, which calls for connected bike/ped trails throughout the project scope, including along Highway 41, Dunes West Blvd and Park West Blvd.
  6. Any design that proceeds must balance both positive and negative impacts throughout the community, and should not only infringe upon the Phillips Community.
  7. It is vital to prevent the Phillips Community from bearing a disproportionate brunt of the negative impacts, especially since they contribute to congestion the least, and came to the table nearly two decades ago, offering solutions and even providing design concepts.
  8. By focusing on improving safety for vulnerable road users, we are also able to reduce negative impacts to wetlands and other aquatic resources.
  9. By splitting the mode share, flooding and climate change impacts can be reduced.

As background, the Highway 41 Corridor Improvements project has been in the works for years. After a lengthy process to develop and narrow down Charleston County’s alternatives to a preferred selection, debate continued due to the massively disproportionate impacts that would have been piled on Phillips, one of few historic settlement communities that remain. After tremendous public input, a Compromise Alternative was put forth and approved unanimously by County Council in August 2021. Charleston County is now seeking a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and SCDHEC-OCRM.

The Compromise includes “a multi-use path connecting 17 to the new path built by Berkeley County’s Clements Ferry project.” However, in the permit application’s 30% drawings, there are some gaps in the path. Furthermore, several mid-block crossings along 41 through Philips are not in the drawings, the 41/Joe Rouse intersection is subpar for safe pedestrian crossing, and it is unclear how people on bikes will navigate the Winnowing Way/41 connection.

While the Compromise Alternative spreads the impacts more fairly among the adjacent communities than previous proposals, it is still a roadway widening. As we’ve said throughout the development of this project (and others throughout the county), we cannot rely on extra lanes of traffic to solve congestion problems. It never does, and it never will. Instead, the throughline improvement should be comfortable and connected multi-modal infrastructure. The silver lining here is that the design creates more of a grid to split traffic and modes, assuming aforementioned elements are addressed.

BETTER NORTH BRIDGE

Charleston County applied for a 2024 federal RAISE grant from USDOT for the Better North Bridge project, a standalone bicycle and pedestrian bridge between West Ashley and North Charleston. If funded, the crossing would provide greatly needed safe and equitable passage, offering access to daily needs, social services, employment, education, nutritious food, public waterfront and greenspace, healthcare, recreation, Lowcountry Rapid Transit, and so much more. Since 2015, four community members have been killed on this bridge as they tried to navigate from one side to the other, and many more have been seriously injured. Without even the provision of a basic sidewalk, folks are left to weave around posts in a narrow center median while cars zoom by within inches. For the benefit of our entire community, particularly those who are most vulnerable, we cannot allow the current conditions to continue.

Now that Charleston County’s Better North Bridge grant application is in the hands of the federal government for review, we need to shore up critical support from Congressman Clyburn.

Please call Congressman Clyburn’s team to ask for his vocal support of the Better North Bridge project. Below is a sample script and contact information. Don’t hesitate to email us (info@charlestonmoves.org) if you have any questions. USDOT will announce the grant awards no later than June 27, 2024.

Congressman James Clyburn’s Washington, DC Office
Phone: (202) 225-3315
Hours: M-F, 9 am – 5 pm

Sample scripts (check to see which congressional district you live in HERE):

If you live in Rep. Clyburn’s district

Hello,
My name is [X] and I am a constituent of Representative Clyburn. I am calling to ask for his support of the Better North Bridge project, a bicycle and pedestrian bridge located in his district that would safely connect the Cities of Charleston and North Charleston. Charleston County submitted a grant application for the project to USDOT’s RAISE grant program on February 28. Would Representative Clyburn be willing to express his support for the project to USDOT Secretary Buttigieg now?

The project is vital to not only protect the lives of Representative Clyburn’s constituents, but it also offers a safe and affordable opportunity to connect to Lowcountry Rapid Transit, grocery stores, jobs, schools, green and blue spaces, and other important needs.

Thank you for your time.

If you live outside of Rep. Clyburn’s district

Hello,
My name is [X] and I [live near/work in/visit] Representative Clyburn’s district. I am calling to ask for his support of the Better North Bridge project, a bicycle and pedestrian bridge located in his district that would safely connect the Cities of Charleston and North Charleston. Charleston County submitted a grant application for the project to USDOT’s RAISE grant program on February 28. Would Representative Clyburn be willing to express his support for the project to USDOT Secretary Buttigieg now?

The project is vital to not only protect the lives of Representative Clyburn’s constituents, but it also offers a safe and affordable opportunity to connect to Lowcountry Rapid Transit, grocery stores, jobs, schools, green and blue spaces, and other important needs.

Thank you for your time.

PENINSULA PLAN

» Virtual meeting + survey open through June HERE

The Charleston Peninsula: Our Community, Our Future, Our Plan is a community-driven master plan, sponsored by the City of Charleston, to guide the growth and evolution of the Charleston Peninsula for the coming decades. Mobility is a top priority of this planning effort, especially figuring out opportunities and strategies for supporting a variety of modes of transportation, not just personal vehicles. If you haven’t already been involved, there is still an opportunity to add your experience and ideas to the conversation.

The Peninsula Plan Virtual Meeting & Survey is an interactive survey experience, where you can learn more about the plan and respond to prompts for feedback. This survey will stay open until the end of June.

Learn more about the Peninsula Plan HERE.

State Multi-Modal Plan

» Take the survey HERE

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is developing its 2050 statewide multi-modal transportation plan. The agency develops this long-range transportation plan every five years, and needs all of us to provide input. Learn more about their work here, and be sure to take the survey. This is an important opportunity to let SCDOT know how you want to get around, especially by bicycle, foot, and transit!

NORTH CHARLESTON NEEDS SAFE TRANSPORTATION ACCESS

» Petition: actionnetwork.org/petitions/north-charleston-needs-safe-transportation-access

South Carolina is one of the most dangerous states in the nation for vulnerable road users, with Charleston County leading the state in rates of injuries and fatalities to people on bicycles and on foot. In 2021, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), the agency that controls the majority of our roadways and bridges, passed a Complete Streets Engineering Directive, emphasizing that local formalized bike/ped plans would be needed for the state to install the appropriate infrastructure. For the City of North Charleston to have the best opportunities to work with SCDOT and achieve safe transportation access for its citizens, there needs to be a municipal Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan to guide priorities and facilitate implementation.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO WALK + BIKE IN NORTH CHARLESTON?

» Survey: charlestonmoves.dm.networkforgood.com/forms/where-do-you-want-to-walk-bike-in-north-charleston

We want to know where you currently walk and bike in North Charleston, and where you want to see improvements made to enable more and safer multi-modal trips. Thanks in advance for your input!

CROSS THE CUT

» Petition: actionnetwork.org/petitions/safe-bikeped-access-across-the-wappoo-cut

The Wappoo Cut Bridge is located along Folly Road between West Ashley and James Island. While it has sidewalks leading to it, and a maintenance path across, the space is too far narrow and close to fast-moving vehicles. This is a key corridor that links destinations with existing infrastructure and pending projects, including: the West Ashley Greenway, Maryville Bikeway, new Ashley River Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge, McLeod Plantation, Rethink Folly Road improvements, Maybank Highway complete streets work, James Island County Park, and more. Despite progress and opportunities on both sides, this bridge remains a barrier. We need a critical mass of support to make this crossing safe and comfortable for people to walk, bicycle, travel in wheelchairs, and with canes.

LOG YOUR CLOSE CALLS

» Click HERE

Please report your close calls with motorists while walking and/or biking through our community. These reports and your narratives are extremely helpful advocacy tools when we’re working with stakeholders on improvements. Help us advocate for your safety!

REQUEST MAINTENANCE

» Who + How: charlestonmoves.org/who-maintains-that-path

Have you noticed bike/ped infrastructure that needs maintenance? Reference the above resource to find out who is responsible, and how to report it.