CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Two people in one week have died on the Northbridge that connects the City of Charleston and North Charleston. The deaths have caused fear in the community and motivated the county to create better solutions for those who use the bridge.
Katie Zimmerman, the Executive Director of Charleston Moves, recalled the Northbridge as the last place she drove 14 years ago. Zimmerman stated that the fear of hitting a pedestrian while driving over the bridge made her no longer wish to drive. Now, Zimmerman said the fight for a better Northbridge is personal, as she is part of the foot traffic and cyclist community.
Zimmer explained that the most recent death of Mr. Oliver this week marked the 4th death of a person biking either on the Northbridge or at the intersection immediately closest to it.
According to the North Charleston Police Department (NCPD), this is the 8th accident this year as well as two reported fatalities along the Northbridge.
Now, Charleston County is stepping in saying they have a new bike/pedestrian feasibility study to look at ways to improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians crossing the Ashley River via the Northbridge and Cosgrove Avenue.
As the county works, Zimmerman said Charleston Moves is continuing their own studies to assist in the data collection period for the bike/pedestrian analysis. This analysis, among others, helps to better understand how the concept of a separate pedestrian and cyclist bridge would impact the community.
For Zimmerman, this study and what’s to come after is peace of mind for Charlestonians. She said, “just trying to get to work, or get to northbridge park, or go to visit family, that shouldn’t be a death sentence.”
As of Friday, the county said Public Works is currently working with stakeholders for the study to narrow down an alternative. The project team intends to provide a website to the public presenting an alternative later this summer.
At that time, the public will have an opportunity to provide input on the proposed alternative.