The City of Charleston considers allowing bikes on James Island Connector
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is exploring ways to allow bicycle access on the James Island Connector.
In a public hearing Wednesday, the Traffic and Transportation Committee listened to dozens of people fighting to reopen the connector to bicyclists.
"Reopen the connector today," said Director of Charleston Moves Kurt Cavanaugh. "Not everyone has a choice but to ride that way to work, to school, to whatever."
Cavanaugh brought a petition signed by nearly 1,000 people who advocated the need for bicycle access on the James Island Connector.
The city presented a feasibility study that showed ways to make the connector safer.
One option illustrated the need to raise the barriers and re-strip the roadway.
That would cost $3.6 million.
Many argued the city does not need to spend that money to make the connector safer.
Cavanaugh said the less expensive option would be to lower the speed limit to 35 miles per hour and post barriers between the lane and traffic.
Others want to see the connector open now, even if measures aren't taken to make it safer.
"People ride a motorcycle without a helmet in South Carolina," said Dr. Lance Davis, from Mount Pleasant. "That puts that person at some significant risk. But, that's our standard in this society. So, bicyclists should be allowed to asses our own safety tolerance."
Charleston city council member Bill Moody said the city is working to find a solution.
"I think we can probably do some accommodations to make it happen," said Moody. "I think if the liability could be fixed, we could probably lower the speed limit a little bit."
Moody said the committee will meet with SCDOT officials and reconvene on this topic in February.
In 2011, Dr. Mitchel Holson was hit by a van and killed after falling over 40 feet off the side of the connector.
In 2012, there was ban put in place making it illegal to bike or walk across the connector.
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