CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston says they are planning to add their first protected bikeway downtown.
Running along the entirety of Brigade Street, under I-26 and to the end of Cypress Street the city says the bikeway will take the place of what is currently dozens of parking spots.
City leaders say Charleston is the No. 1 city in the state for bike and pedestrian deaths and injuries. To combat these accidents they say they are now partnering with the South Carolina’s Department of Transportation, who will add in a bike lane, additional sidewalk ramps and signs for pedestrians to make it safer for everyone on and off the road.
SCDOT says they were already looking to resurface the road.
City of Charleston Director of Traffic and Transportation Keith Benjamin says the current parking spaces are not paid or regulated parking, but the city has received unanimous support from neighborhood advocacy groups who want to prioritize the use of nonmotorized transportation.
“It’s not enough to say hey, use another mode of transportation and use a combination of modes of transportation, to get from point A to point B,” Benjamin said. “We have to give people the safe option.”
Benjamin says at the intersection of Meeting Street and Brigade Street there have been well over 25 accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians in the last three years. He says this project will also include several additions to that intersections, including pedestrian flashers and ramps.
“You can’t tell people not to use a mode of transportation, especially for many in our city who are dependent on those modes,” Benjamin said. “You have to give them a safe alternative, and some of this work is really pointing toward giving people a safe option for the mode of transportation that they might choose to use, or they might be dependent on.”
The city says they approved a nearly $300,000 budget for the project this week and construction could be underway as soon as October.