Improvements to come to the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - City of Charleston officials along with the Charleston Parks Conservancy are working on a plan to improve the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway.

That's the trail that runs from Folly Road to Main Road. Neighbors have been wanted improvement in the area for years.

In 2009 a plan was drawn up by Urban Edge Studios about what the future could hold for the 10-mile stretch.

Now a new master plan is in the works, focused on community input.

"[We're looking at] things like additional community gardens, playgrounds, picnic areas, or other places for people to gather," said Harry Lesesne, Executive Director for the Charleston Parks Conservancy.

"I really love the Greenway," said Georgia Schrubbe, of West Ashley. "I think it's kind of a hidden gem in West Ashley."

Schrubbe walks the Greenway at least two to three times a week. She said some new additions to the path would be helpful.

"More water fountains would be great," she said. "I usually start around Earth Fare and walk about a mile and a half, two miles, and then come back. There's only one water fountain there, and it's okay when it's a little cooler if you can carry your own water bottle, but it would be nice to have some more water, especially for dogs."

Lesesne said the hope is to start working on the master plan in the next three to six month.

During that time public meetings will be held to find out what residents would like to see added.

"The most successful parks have people in them," said Jason Kronsberg, the Parks Director for the City of Charleston. "So that's the goal, to make these improvements with the users in mind."

Kronsberg added when a plan is approved, changes won't happen all at once.

"A 'shovel ready project' would be a location identified along these linear parks that we could go and implement one at a time, or a few at a time," he said.

The partnership between the city and the Conservancy will look at hiring a firm to develop the plan.

Safety is also one of the first things designers will look at.

"A lot of times people come up on these cross streets and they just fly through," Schrubbe said.

"[We have to look at] how to make those efficient and safe, for the pedestrian or the biker, but also beautiful," Lesesne said.

Kronsberg added two pathway projects are already underway on the Greenway.

  • Parkdale Drive to Croghan Landing Drive, a 2.5-mile stretch, is currently out to bidders to begin construction. The plan is to continue the asphalt path in that area. Completion is expected by the end of the year.
  • Stinson Drive to Parkdale Drive, a nearly 1.5-mile stretch, is in the permitting process. City officials hope to have the bidding go out by the end of the year. The plan will also continue the asphalt path in the area.

Lesesne said the cost of the project is unknown at this point since the plan has not been developed.

"We want to be able to have the resources to do a great plan that we can execute and fundraise from," he said.

Lesesne said a majority of the money would likely come from private donations.

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