go to: (Facebook:) Ashley-Crossing-Coalition
WHY IS GETTING ONE LANE ON THE LEGARE BRIDGE OVER THE ASHLEY SO IMPORTANT?
• Cyclists and pedestrians deserve equal access to thoroughfares, and there is currently no safe, readily accessible route over the Ashley linking West Ashley with downtown Charleston.
• There are countless people who would love to ride bikes or walk more often but they have not been provided safe routes to use.
• A reliably safe route could enable children and young people to ride or walk to school. It would enable observant religious practitioners to walk to services.
• Our community will thrive even more if we provide this kind of equitable, healthy, non-polluting transportation options.
• This is a critical link in our proposed “Battery2Beach Route” that will eventually make it possible for anyone over the age of 12 to ride or walk anywhere along a continuous route joining the County Parks in Isle of Palms and Folly Beach.
• The East Coast Greenway runs from Maine to Key West and travels through Charleston. Making it safe for touring cyclists will further enhance the Greater Charleston area’s popularity as a quality tourist venue.
IF WE ARE ABLE TO TAKE ONE LANE OF THE LEGARE BRIDGE FOR PEDESTRIANS AND CYCLISTS, WILL THIS MEAN THAT THE JAMES ISLAND CONNECTOR WILL BE OFF-LIMITS TO CYCLISTS?
The Charleston County Roadwise study includes the possibility that the Connector could be used for this purpose. We recognize that many intrepid (racers or other real cycling enthusiasts) often use it because there is no other current option, and that many would like to continue using it. However, the objective of the Ashley Crossing Coalition (and our Battery2Beach Initiative) is to make a connection that is suitable for everyone, commuters, weekend cyclists just out for a leisurely ride, for pedestrians, families and kids. With high-speed auto traffic and the safety challenge of crossing automobile on-ramps and off-ramps, our opinion is that the Connector just doesn’t work.
IF CYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS GET TO USE OF A LANE ON THE LEGARE BRIDGE, WOULD THEY BE FORCED TO RIDE FOLLY ROAD AND THE WAPPOO CUT BRIDGE IN ORDER TO TRAVEL TOWARD FOLLY BEACH?
We will press for safe connectivity from all points west of the Ashley. Charleston Moves would not consider it safe to route cyclists or pedestrians over the Wappo Cut Bridge as it is currently configured and will press for safe accommodations.
The new intersection at Folly and Maybank Highway does not include provisions for cyclists---a horrible circumstance. However, we believe that the time has come for a complete re-evaluation of Folly Road. We think it is still being treated as a rural road even though it has been built up in such a way that the old speed limits (40-50) are unsupportable. Portions of it, we feel, should become more boulevard-like. We've heard that officials have begun some early discussions of how and when it should be re-evaluated. We feel that a "win" on the Legare Bridge could possibly expedite such a project.
We also will press for full connectivity from Route 61. (St. Andrews Boulevard) as well as the West Ashley Greenway.
WILL MEASURES BE TAKEN TO MODIFY THE METAL DECKING ON THE LEGARE BRIDGE TO MAKE IT SAFE FOR USE BY CYCLISTS?
We believe that engineers studying the feasibility will take this into consideration, and if they do not, Charleston Moves will be sure to suggest it. We have identified substances and products that can make it safe for cyclists. Likewise, we believe that any solution for cyclists and pedestrians must include a divider like a “jersey barrier” to separate the types of traffic.
WOULDN’T IT BE SMART TO WAIT FOR THE RESULTS OF THE FEASIBILITY STUDY TO CONDUCT THE CAMPAIGN?
No. Here's why. The idea behind the drive to collect signed resolutions is to show widespread support for the idea so that our political leaders understand the depth of public support for it. Our campaign cannot "take" the lane. It can demonstrate the political will to do so. Politically, we know that (especially in the case of SCDOT), the general reaction to an idea like this one is negative, just out of cultural inertia.
In many cases, we believe that proposals such as this one have never made it to first base because the road engineering crowd didn't like them, and, absent a compelling reason that they should take a more positive approach (i.e., evidence of support) they just didn't, and the projects died before they ever got a chance. We want to amass evidence of widespread support even while the feasibility study is going on.
The engineers are doing the study. We're trying to show that we're in a new era in which projects like this one are popular, and worth strong consideration. Our drive doesn't force a "yes" on the feasibility study, in other words. It merely is designed to show that, in the public, there is a significant appetite for it.
More importantly, IF there is a positive answer from Charleston County Roadwise---IF the finding is that taking a lane IS feasible -- strong support for the idea will have to be shown to SCDOT in Columbia. It makes no sense to wait to run our campaign until after Roadwise completes its study. The application would go quickly to SCDOT in Columbia, and we have to be ready.
CONCLUSION: The Legare Bridge will likely not be rebuilt within the next ten years. The James Island Connector cannot safely carry everyone, especially younger cyclists. IF the Lagare Bridge is re-fitted to carry bike and ped traffic, it will connect 1/the west Ashley Greenway 2/the East coast Greenway. 3/ local bike/ped traffic from both the Savannah Hwy and Rte. 61 Corridors to and from the peninsula. Taking that lane would also force strong consideration for other bike and pedestrian connectivity all over the place as well as ensure that, when the Legare Bridge is replaced, like the Cooper River Bridge, its design will afford cyclists and pedestrians their rightful place.