CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston city leaders on Wednesday discussed plans to make downtown safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Those conversations that took place at Wednesday’s Traffic & Transportation Committee meeting were between members of the public, South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) officials and city leaders about the possibility of adding new safety improvements to downtown Charleston roadways to make them safer for bikers and pedestrians.
The meeting began with a brief presentation by SCDOT’s director of traffic engineering Brent Dillon, who spoke about the need for these safety projects on King, Calhoun, Meeting and St. Philip Streets.
“These projects are ranked number 2,” Dillon said, “number 3, number 4 and number 6 on our 2018 road safety audit list for bicycle and pedestrian crashes in the state.”
Dillon says there have been more than 3,000 total crashes on those four corridors in the last eight and a half years, including 152 pedestrian crashes and 94 accidents involving bicycles.
Some of the upgrades would include new crosswalks, a two-way bike track on St. Philip Street and enhanced lighting in certain areas.
SCDOT proposed a plan for lower King Street that would make the road one lane of traffic with parking spots and a designated bike lane.
However, Charleston city officials chose to reconfigure that plan, making lower King Street one 14-foot-wide lane for vehicles and bikes to share.
During Wednesday’s meeting, community members had an opportunity to weigh in on this latest proposal.
Traffic and Transportation Chairman Mike Seekings says the appreciates the community’s feedback and the committee is committed to continue working to find a solution that makes the streets safer for everyone.
“We collectively have an absolute obligation to our city to make sure that we put in place the best plan we can to make it safer,” Seekings said.
Seekings says conversations about these proposed projects will continue at next week’s city council meeting.