Johns Island Community Association: Ashley River Bridge bike study adds traffic

Johns Island Community Association: Ashley River Bridge bike study adds traffic

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - It's been almost a month since Charleston County began a traffic study on the Ashley River Bridge to evaluate the impact of adding a possible bike lane.

Some locals now say traffic has become a problem beyond the bridge.

Stephen Harris is a founder of the Johns Island Community Association, which is hoping to halt the bike lane project.

"We're not opposed to a bike lane," Harris said. "We're opposed to closing a traffic lane."

Harris said Johns Island residents are dealing with extra traffic bottlenecks since Charleston County closed a northbound lane of the bridge on April 2.

"What people aren't looking at is the bottleneck behind this merge," Harris said. "They're looking at just what's on the bridge."

A spokesman from Charleston County said travel times on U.S. 17 and S.C. 61 are close to pre-closure times.

But according to a county spokesman, staff have seen delays coming from Folly Road during peak rush hours. City Councilman Marvin Wagner, who originally voted against the project, is getting emails about the issue from constituents.

"It's like a big funnel," Wagner said. "You cannot reduce a lane of traffic and reduce the outflow by 25% and not have a synergestic's pretty obvious if you live on that side of the river what's happening."

According to the county, crews did adjust the merge lane on Folly Road this week after staff observed traffic congestion related to the lane closure.The county has not released numbers on travel times.

"There's an old saying, you can't put ten pounds of dirt in a five pound sack," Wagner said. "It doesn't matter how much they adjust, it's still a five pound sack."

If the bike lane moves forward, it would connect downtown Charleston to the West Ashley Greenway, hundreds of people gathered at City Hall in early April to push for the lane to be done by 2016.

Those in favor say a traffic test doesn't truly show the lane's value.

Charleston County allows for testing to  continue for up to 30 more days.

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