More bike lanes coming to downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee approved a plan on Thursday night that will add more bike lanes to the downtown peninsula.

The committee approved the People Pedal Plan, a comprehensive analysis constructed by Design Division and Charleston Moves.

The study behind the plan began in 2015. The City's Director of Traffic and Transportation Keith Benjamin said the committee has been reviewing the plans for some time.

"A lot of our streets already are conducive for non-motorized in specific ways," Benjamin said. "But for those that aren't, we're able to look at what design looks like without taking away right-of-way."

The committee's approval of the plan authorized the City to move forward with implementing suggestions outlined in the original proposal.

The People Pedal Plan emphasizes low cost—not one suggestion requires the relocation of curbs. Most recommendations can be made with paint and a few new signal lights.

Many people who live in Charleston expressed excitement about the changes ahead for Charleston's roadways.

"Since I live down here and go to the school, College of Charleston, I think it would be a really great idea, considering I have to ride my bike everywhere," Charleston resident Hunter Cunningham said.

But others have concerns about what more bike lanes will mean for people's safety.

"There are too many people, too many cars, too many people texting, too many people talking on their phones," Charleston resident Ellen Bryan said. "And I feel it’s dangerous for drivers, actually. I’ve seen too many close calls."

The City still has to decide which streets will get bike lanes and other traffic flow changes. Benjamin said people can expect to see bike lanes added to Lockwood Dr., parts of Calhoun St., and other prominent streets on the peninsula.

"What we're really trying to do is trying to make sure people are as safe as possible, no matter what form of transportation they choose," Benjamin said.

Benjamin said pedestrians could see new bike lanes downtown in the next few months.

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