Traffic and transportation changes you could see in downtown Charleston

VIDEO: Traffic and transportation changes you could see in downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Throughout the COIVD-19 pandemic, staff with the City of Charleston’s Traffic and Transportation Department have been hard at work.

“Our consciousness of those people who continue to make our city move and go has been the predominate piece," Director of the City of Charleston’s Traffic and Transportation Department Keith Benjamin said. “Knowing that if they’re safe and taken care of, we can do that for the rest of our citizens.”

One change you may see are signs on the buttons for pedestrian crossings at intersections. In April, the city automated all pedestrian signals so people don’t have to push the buttons. Benjamin said the idea came from a colleague in a different city.

“It’s been helpful to be able to see those exchanges," he added. “What’s working in other cities and what’s applicable for here in Charleston.”

Another change you may see is less traffic in and around Hampton Park. The park is closed to traffic for four hours a day to promote more bikers and people walking around. This is a change that was implemented when parks reopened on May 1 but it is unclear if those hours of no traffic will continue. Here are the current hours the park is closed to vehicular traffic:

  • Monday – Friday: 4-8 p.m.
  • Saturdays: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Sundays: 1-5 p.m.

Another change has been to parking meters around the city. Throughout the city’s State of Emergency, meters have not been enforced and parking enforcement officers are being used in a different way.

“We transformed our parking enforcement officers to city ambassadors,” Benjamin said. "They are answering people’s questions, giving directions helping people in need....and are eyes on the street and monitoring folks safely social distancing as they are coming back to the park areas.”

When meters are enforced again, they will only be enforced until 6 p.m., instead of the usual 10 p.m., until the end of 2020.

The city’s Bike and Pedestrian Committee is set to meet on Thursday to discuss these changes and possibly other suggestions.

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