Ashley River bike lane to get reviewed by SCDOT
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston County Council voted to have the South Carolina Department of Transportation take another look at the Ashley River Bridge before moving forward with the bike lane decision.
The council voted to give DOT 60 days to check the bridge to ensure it has the structural integrity to handle additional weight the bike lane would add.
Within those 60 days the DOT must also respond to the council with its findings.
The bike lane has been in the works with the city of Charleston, Charleston county, and SCDOT since April 2014. The lane would replace a vehicle lane going from West Ashley to downtown Charleston and would connect bicyclists and pedestrians on and off the peninsula.
The bike lane has brought out strong opinions from people in support of the lane, and also from drivers who oppose the lane.
"The bridge doesn't support the traffic pattern that we now have and to add bike traffic to that and closing one lane which would be necessary for the bikes it would just congest traffic miles in both directions," Patrick Welch said.
But those in support adding the bike lane said the lane is needed for safety reasons.
"Currently there is no safe way to walk or ride a bike from downtown to west Ashley and it disconnects our city, this will connect our city for everyone, not just everyone in a vehicle," Kurt Cavanaugh said.
Tuesday night at the council meeting a man who was seriously injured after being hit by a car while riding his bicycle on the Ashley River Bridge said his accident could have been avoided.
"It could have been prevented by not delaying this project so many times," Devario Reid said.
During Reid's accident he was hit by a car that was going 45 miles per hour. He said the experience was terrifying.
"I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy to have been that close to being thrown over the side of the bridge is a terrifying experience," Reid said.
Following his accident Reid said he had four surgeries, a skin graph, over sixty stitches, and is still in physical therapy.
A traffic study was done to see the impact of only having three lanes coming from West Ashley to downtown Charleston. The study found it did not have a major impact, but some drivers disagree.
Charleston City Council member Marvin Wagner also said the study caused major traffic delays.
"The traffic was backed up tremendously I mean it just wasn't moving. Now once it got to the foot of the bridge, hey it went across the bridge just fine," Wagner said.
Under the original agreement to form the bike lane the city of Charleston, Charleston county and SCDOT if traffic volumes show the path should be removed at any time, SCDOT can take the lane back for vehicle use only.