CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Right now there is no legal way for cyclists to ride between Charleston and James Island due to safety concerns, but that could change.
The City of Charleston's Department of Traffic and Transportation along with Stantec Consulting released a study looking at ways to give cyclists access to the James Island Connector.
"'The connector is illegal to ride, how else am I supposed to get downtown. I can't ride the cross town because you just get mowed down," says Sales Manager at Charleston Bicycle Company, Colby Poplin.
Poplin says customers ask him all the time, how can they get downtown from James Island.
"Or you can ride the sidewalk on the Crosstown bridge which is also illegal or you can ride in traffic at the crosstown," says Poplin. "It's called the Crosstown for a reason, everybody in the right lane is trying to get over in the left lane and everyone in the left lane is trying to get over in the right lane, it's just not a good place for a bike to be."
The safety analysis of the James Island Connector looks at ways at ways to accommodate cyclists.
"In the overall scheme of things, more and more people are going to be riding into downtown," says Poplin. "We have customers who come in all the time [and say] 'oh hey the price of a bike is cheaper than my parking pass for a whole year'...so it just makes sense for a lot of people."
The 90-page study includes recommendations to lower the speed limit, add railing extensions and new lighting, install warning signs to tell cyclists to yield to traffic among other things.
"Everybody thinks oh the last thing we need is bikers on the road getting in the way of our cars trying to get places, but for every one person on a bike it's one less person in a car" says Poplin.
The improvements could cost nearly $3.6 million. Some groups that work to improve conditions for biking and walking like Charleston Moves say safety can still come with a smaller price tag.
Here's a link to the full study: http://charleston-sc.gov/DocumentCenter/View/9725
You can e-mail your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to City of Charleston Traffic and Transportation, 180 Lockwood Drive Charleston, SC 29403. A public hearing will be set at a later time.