MUSC takes back portion of downtown street, create permanent green space

The plans for the future Charleston Medical District Greenway. (Source: MUSC)
The plans for the future Charleston Medical District Greenway. (Source: MUSC)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A portion of Doughty Street in downtown Charleston is about to get a "green" makeover, but it will mean a change to the traffic patterns.

MUSC is taking back a portion of the road to turn it into what will be the Charleston Medical District Greenway.

The changes are part of what is called "tactical urbanism" in an effort though to take back a street – and put in a green space.

"The majority of people on our campus are under some sort of stress – whether they're patients or people visiting the patients, our students, the doctors that are helping these people heal – they're all under stress," MUSC Grounds Department Asst. Supervisor Nathan Dubosh said. "And we try and create spaces on campus where they can come outside and possibly, hopefully forget that stress for ten minutes."

Sarah Moderhack has lived in the Charleston area her entire life and works downtown.

"I've seen a lot of new development and buildings," she said.

She said the fact that part of Doughty Street is getting a "green" makeover is a step in the right direction.

"It's really exciting for me to see the city and the medical district take back some of the urbanized areas and create more of an eco-friendly environment," Moderhack said.

The biggest change is that the portion Doughty Street between Ehrhardt Street and President Street is now forever closed to vehicle traffic.

According to artist renderings of the final design, there will be mature and hearty trees in large planters along the Greenway and the street will be painted green to denote the long-term intention of removing the asphalt.

"At this phase of tactical urbanism, it's quick and it's supposed to be cheap," Dubosh said. "There are plans in the future as the campus develops and as the Children's Hospital is completed that the asphalt will come up and the trees that we're placing on the pavement will go in the ground, turf will go in, gardens and fountains and lots of seating areas."

This transformation isn't just for the students and employees.

"I can only imagine to be a patient and be here long-term and to be able to step outside into a green area and really just take a break from the hospital environment," Moderhack said.

"There's a lot of research that shows that access to green space or even having a view of green spaces, helps in the healing process," Dubosh said.

This is the first of two phases for the project. The first phase is expected to be completed by Nov. 20. Planning for the second phase will begin as soon as the first phase is complete.

The second phase is expected to be completed around the time MUSC's new children's hospital is done in early 2019.

The project is expected to cost approximately $200,000 from the MUSC Foundation. Click here to watch a video that details the future plans and collaboration between MUSC, the City of Charleston, the College of Charleston, Roper St. Francis and The Citadel.

There are already signs up showing the new detours.

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