Tri-County public forum addresses improved driving times, bike lanes

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Improving drive times, congestion, safety and maybe adding a bike lane or two are some of the many issues that were discussed at the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester County of Government in their third and final public forum today.

It's all part of the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan.

Judith Ash, who lives in Pinoplis, says the issue of mass transit has existed for decades.

She spoke at the public forum to voice her concerns.

"Our main goal is to get a really comprehensive look at the transportation network and what all the viable solutions are," said Kathryn Basha.

"Already we've gotten a tremendous amount of support and feedback," said Michael Rutkowski."That's what we need."

The main talking point, you guessed it, traffic.

"A lot of it has to do with congestion," Rutkowski said.

Ash blames that on unsafe driving.

"There are many good features to come if we learn to be safe drivers," Ash said.

And it's not just about cars.

"We're not looking at just how to move cars, we're also looking at how to move freight, move people not in a vehicle," Basha said.

"We have to look holistically," Rutkowski said."We have to look at multi-model and providing other choices."

One of those choices is the bus rapid transit system.

"It's definitely going to give people much faster means of traveling," said Basha.

"The people who need it, need it yesterday. I want to be positive but it's urgent," Ash said.

Long Range Transportation plan officials say it won't be implemented though for another three to four years.

Rutkowski says it's worth the wait.

"Looking at the demographics and community characteristics, it's going to have a tremendous impact," Rutkowski said.

As for Ash, she says this issue has been around for decades.

"I remember sitting next to the man in charge of the transit system some years back," Ash said."He was working on this issue before a budget cut. It seems mass transit always takes a hit in the budget."

She's hopeful this time improvements will be made.

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