Public can give input on West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway design plans Monday

WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Parks Conservancy is hosting a series of interactive design workshops to discuss plans for the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway.

It's a 10.5 mile trail that runs from Folly Road to Main Road.

The City of Charleston and the Charleston Parks Conservancy scheduled the first of a series of public meetings for input on the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway for Monday night at the Schoolhouse, located at 720 Magnolia Rd.

The West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway Community Design Workshop will be a chance for area residents to share their suggestions and have a say in shaping the future of these public spaces.

"This is an exciting opportunity to be part of transforming a significant public space that connects so many neighborhoods in the City of Charleston," said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. "We're looking forward to working with the public on ideas and inspiration as to how we can make the West Ashley Bikeway and Greenway even more inviting."

People say they like using the trail.

"It was a great ride I couldn't recommend it more for people," James Island resident Trudy Crosby said. "It was a stunning day, the breeze was perfect."

Downtown Charleston resident Elizabeth Crimmins says she normally runs downtown but decided to try out the greenway today.

"I like how the greenway is kind of like an uninterrupted path of running and there's not a lot of traffic and a lot of people around you," Crimmins said.

Some people would like it even more if there were some improvements.

That's why the city wants your idea as they create future design plans.

After talking with people who use many have safety as their top priority.

"Better lighting definitely especially when people are commuting along the greenway, at night it's not as safe," Crimmins said.

The executive director of Charleston Moves, a non-profit advocating for safe conditions for walking and biking, says people also want to see improved intersections when transitioning on and off the greenway.

They would also like to see the greenway connect to a future bike and pedestrian bridge into downtown Charleston across the Ashley River.

"They do need more water stations on the way, I think that would be a big improvement," Crosby said.

Crosby also believes 911 emergency call buttons would be a great addition to the trail as well.

A couple of research assistants with the College of Charleston were out along the path conducting survey's of people's perceptions of the greenway.

"A lot of people are really excited about the opportunity of a bridge going downtown from the Greenway, I think a lot of people just need an easier connection to get downtown especially if they work and stuff like that, they want to be able to bike," research assistant, McKenzie Pelletier said.

The goal of their research is to help make local parks and greenways a place that people want to use and enjoy more and to gauge how people feel about them now.

"A lot of people said they wanted the whole path to paved, some people want it wider, some people want more benches or water fountains, more shade on the hot days like this just a lot of input," research assistant, Sarah Trello said.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., a drop in will be held at the Charleston Parks Conservancy's Studio Space, 720 Magnolia Rd.

On Thursday at 6:30, the Work-in-Progress Presentation and Feedback Forum will be held at The Schoolhouse.

Last year, the Charleston Parks Conservancy received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a project that would add public art activities along the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway.

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