Mount Pleasant receives funding for Shem Creek Bridge Bike Lane Project

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - People in Mount Pleasant may soon have an easier way to get around town.

The Mount Pleasant Transportation Department was awarded the money for the alternative transportation project 2016.

The funds are intended to be put toward non-traditional transportation-related activities such as bike or pedestrian facilities as well as streetscaping projects.

"I've been cycling in Charleston for 10 years," Mount Pleasant resident Scott Hirshorn said.

In that decade, he added not much has changed for cyclists.

"I haven't seen a ton of improvements, maybe a few more bike lanes," Hirshorn said."In general it's a dangerous place to bike. I stick to the safer route, Sullivan's Island over the bridge and back. I stay away from downtown and James Island."

Hirshorn said he also does his best to avoid the Shem Creek Bridge.

"Without the lanes, it's pretty dangerous," Hirshorn explained. "Riding in traffic is a dangerous sport."

"I'm the type of biker that will bike anywhere and even I get nervous on this bridge," said Katie Zimmerman, the executive director of Charleston Moves.

Zimmerman explained funding from the South Carolina Department of Transportation came through to add a bike and pedestrian lane on both sides of the Shem Creek Bridge.

The project plans to take out the center median of the bridge and repaint the lines to add 5-foot bike/pedestrian sections to the northbound and southbound lanes."

"A lot of folks have been asking for this for a while," Zimmerman said. "This segment of bike lanes on Shem Creek is just a segment of a larger transportation project for people on bikes."

Zimmerman said Charleston Moves is working with  multiple municipalities to improve cycling, not just in Mount Pleasant, but all over the Lowcountry.

"The biggest impediment to cycling in Charleston is safety," Hirshorn said. "We have great weather, loads of active people, but the roads are just not fit for cycling."

Hirshorn is hopeful the Shem Creek Bridge Bike Lane Project will improve cycling safety.

In the meantime, he gives other bikers this advice.

"Right now, I would say be cautious," he said."I'm always on the defensive, looking out, always yield to the traffic. Assume they don't see you, that's how I go about it."

The Town of Mount Pleasant plans to host multiple meetings for public input on the matter. For more information, visit the Transportation Department website.

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