CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD)- Safe transit advocates in Charleston County are asking the public for help in securing federal grant money to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Ashley River.
Charleston County is sending in an application for a Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Grant in the coming days.
Letters of support are needed to help the United States Department of Transportation choose the project for federal funding.
“We’re looking for letters from churches, neighborhood associations, businesses, non-profits, government agencies and elected officials,” said Katie Zimmerman, the Executive Director of Charleston Moves.
The Better North Bridge project has been a goal of Charleston Moves and Charleston County for years.
Pedestrians and bicyclists have to cross the Ashley River on the North Bridge’s median or sides just inches away from traffic moving at 50 miles per hour.
“Since 2015, four people have been killed bicycling the bridge. We look at the scope of the intersections on either side of the bridge and the bridge itself,” said Zimmerman. “But, if you look back at the safety data since 2001 on average every year one person gets killed or harmed biking or walking the bridge.”
The project would include the construction of a standalone pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the river.
The congregation of Westminster Presbyterian Church have been supporters of the project for awhile as well.
“There used to be a pathway for people to bike and walk across the river,” said Pastor Lissa Long of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. “We can be advocates for people who are trying to get from one place to the next.”
Pastor Long was a part of the team that wrote a letter in support of the project to send to the USDOT. She says the support has been years in the making.
“We have signs around our campus. Our members have signs in their yards to say ‘We are in support of this. Not just by a letter, but in big ways,” said Pastor Long. “You are one community and I think that benefits all of Charleston and North Charleston.”
To send a letter as a part of the the federal grant application click here to go to Charleston Moves’ website. The last day to submit letters is Tuesday February 21.