Lowcountry Rapid Transit proposed park and ride location moved to Ladson
LADSON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments held a public open house Tuesday in Ladson to provide new updates and hear from members of the community on the Lowcountry Rapid Transit.
Located at the Lowcountry Rapid Transit lines end, the new location for the proposed park and ride will be at the Exchange Park Fairgrounds in Ladson.
The more than 21-mile transit plan is to connect downtown Charleston to the Exchange Park Fairgrounds, where parking for 280 cars will be available.
The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments says the location of the park and ride system will be a quick and convenient station for those traveling from surrounding areas to downtown.
“This park and ride will continue to be a critical piece, whether this was the middle line will continue to Summerville or even beyond, folks will still have to drive to this location and park to get on the dedicated guideway,” Lowcountry Rapid Transit Project Manager, Sharon Hollis, says. “But we can get them off of Highway 26, and onto the system to perhaps maybe alleviate some congestion that way.”
The park and ride location was adjusted from the northern end line of downtown Summerville to Exchange Park.
With transit lines ending in Ladson in the current plan, some community members are asking for the routes to be extended to Summerville.
“This needs to go all the way to Summerville, this system has to work,” Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit Executive Director, William Hamilton, says. “There are 300,000 or 400,000 more people coming to our area, there is no possible way, nor is there anything close to the funds necessary to build the necessary roads.
“Congestion will become intolerable unless there are significant efforts made to take some of the burden off of the road system,” he adds.
Hollis says a lot of factors would play into an extension, including funding and demand from those in the area who would use it.
“As we start to build, transit demand from Summerville to this location, we’ll start to have the ability to do that more permanent infrastructure to put the buses and dedicated lane,” she says. “It’s a step process, and we’re just we’re a little further behind than that one.”
Back in March, the Lowcountry Rapid Transit System Project was awarded $100 million in President Biden’s 2024 budget.
“This is the very core of our community; this should remove some of the burden that is on our existing roads, but people need to understand this does not mean that the congestion we have now will disappear,” Hamilton says.
The requested federal funding represents 60% of the project cost, or about $375 million. The anticipated local funding from Charleston County represents 40% of the project cost, or about $250 million.
The Lowcountry Rapid Transit is currently at the halfway mark of the 12-year process with construction expected to begin in 2026.
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