Rethink Folly Road makes headway in phase one
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Cyclists, walkers and joggers going through James Island to Folly Beach are one step closer to what officials hope is safer and easier travel.
The Rethink Folly Road Complete Streets Initiative focuses on improving connectivity and reducing congestion on Folly Road.
The steering committee made up of officials from Charleston County, the city of Charleston, James Island and Folly Beach held their quarterly meeting Wednesday to go over where this project stands.
As far as the phase one update, Charleston County says we are seeing “the light at the end of the tunnel.”
The state’s department of transportation and health has officially approved the permits for phase one of Rethink Folly Road, according to a Charleston County official.
Phase one is the initial phase of the bike and pedestrian accommodation project, which includes mixed-use paths or lane markings, but construction cannot start just yet.
James Island Mayor Bill Woolsey says they are thinking of beach traffic and how this would impact construction if it were to start in the summer.
In addition to less traffic, these islanders could also see a beach shuttle connecting Folly Beach to James Island, sometime in the future. The town of James Island put out a survey on this to see if people would really use it.
“There is an interest if we can make the ride feasible,” Jenny Costa Honeycutt, Charleston County District 9 councilmember, said. “That is get out there in a way that makes it, encourages people to ride it instead of simply driving and waiting in traffic on their own.”
A survey that pulled in 400 responses from people on James Island, West Ashley and beyond says 77% of people would use a beach shuttle with 23% would not.
When asked if they would take a 10-minute ride in the shuttle in an alternative lane passing traffic, 86% said yes and 14% said no. When asked if they would take a 45-minute ride in the shuttle in the same lane of traffic, 19% said yes and 81% said no.
Katie Zimmerman, executive director of Charleston Moves, says this data could create transit opportunities in the future.
“I think the results are really telling and really useful,” Zimmerman said. “And its information we keep in the back of our minds proceeding forward.”
Charleston County says they are anticipating a 300-day construction timeline for phase one. There is not a set date of when that will start as of now.
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