SPEAK UP FOR EQUITABLE MOBILITY!

BETTER NORTH BRIDGE SUPPORT LETTERS

» Due to Charleston Moves by February 23, 2024 (email Info@CharlestonMoves.org)

Charleston County is applying 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.

Charleston Moves is assisting County staff on the application by collecting letters of support from the community.

If you’re affiliated with an organization, house of worship, neighborhood or business, and would like to provide a support letter for inclusion in the application packet, please email us at info@charlestonmoves.org and we will send you a template from which to work. We need your letter by February 23 at the very latest.

Individuals who support the project can complete our form for inclusion in the application.

You can find additional information on Charleston County’s project page HERE and Charleston Moves’ project page HERE, as well as from The Post & Courier’s recent editorial HERE.

CHARLESTON COUNTY PUBLIC INPUT ON POTENTIAL SALES TAX REFERENDUM

Charleston County is taking public input on projects that could be financed as part of a potential third transportation sales tax that, if approved, would appear on the November 5, 2024 ballot. There is one drop-in meeting left on the calendar to learn about potential projects to: preserve greenspace; improve roads; provide bicycle, pedestrian, and transit system accommodations; and, fund the extension of the Mark Clark Expressway (I-526 Extension). You can also review materials and comment online here.

County Council has made it clear that they want to extend the sales tax via a referendum in order to finance the I-526 Extension. Since the County is adding projects to their list, we at Charleston Moves want to ensure it includes important bike/ped/transit priorities, regardless of what happens with 526.

These public opportunities are your chances to weigh in on the list and learn more details about what exactly the County is proposing. We strongly encourage you get the following on the record:

  • voice your support for critical projects such as Better North Bridge (it is currently on the list, and needs to stay there!);
  • request an increased annual allocation for bicycle and pedestrian projects (we want to see a minimum of $11.34M/year*);
  • let the County know whether you support or oppose any of the projects on their already-proposed list;
  • let the County know that they need to make the official project schedule public before the referendum goes on the ballot — voters need to be informed about how and when the money will be spent, whether it will all be front loaded for the I-526 Extension before other projects, etc.

Or make sure you at least submit comments through the County’s program page.

*Right now, the County is proposing $5M in annual allocations for bicycle and pedestrian connections, which is less than 16% of the Annual Allocation Program. The current sales tax allocates 18% to bike/ped, and we know from experience that amount is not nearly covering the demand. Furthermore, this proposed third sales tax is projected to generate more than twice as much as the current sales tax. Based on that, the bike/ped allocation should increase from 18% to 36%, which means an $11.34M annual allocation. This does not reflect the cost of inflation; construction has increased by 50%, so $11.34M is a conservative request.

UNION PIER OPEN HOUSE

Tuesday, March 5
9 am – 12 pm AND 3-6 pm
Union Pier Terminal

According to the project page:

“What to expect: Site tours (no reservations required!), summary of community input to date, discussion of site opportunities and constraints, cultural keepers corner, and opportunities to weigh in on the future of Union Pier.”

If you missed the January Open House and cannot attend the upcoming opportunity in March, you can participate virtually HERE.

DOWNTOWN TRANSIT STUDY

» Take the survey (open through 3/13): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DCTSConcepts

According to information shared:

BCDCOG and CARTA are working on changes to local buses and DASH shuttle service on the Charleston Peninsula to:

  1. Enhance service frequency, access reliability, and coverage
  2. Modernize transit infrastructure
  3. Regain ridership post-pandemic and build new ridership

You can learn more about the Downtown Charleston Transit Study here. Draft concepts for a future transit network were created based on community input to date, current transit demand, planned developments on the Peninsula, ridership trends, on-time performance, and fleet constraints.

In addition to the online survey, there will be pop-ups on 2/21 and 2/22 at the following locations and times:

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!

HIGHWAY 41

» Army Corps must accept comments until they make a decision

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.

Though the formal comment period has passed, you may speak up to iterate your support for continual multi-use paths throughout the project, in addition to upgraded intersections that are people-oriented, and additional mid-block crossings through Phillips. Submit your comments using the following instructions until the Corps makes a formal decision:

According to the permit application: “Please submit comments in writing, identifying the project of interest by public notice/file number (SAC-2018-00205), to Jeremy.M.Kinney@usace.army.mil.” Please also copy the County’s project manager on your email: coyer@charlestoncounty.org.

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.