ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation is looking to make changes to the Isle of Palms Connector which would include expanding bike lanes and potentially reducing speeds from 55 to 45 mph.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Councilman Ryan Buckhannon said the SCDOT informed the city of their plans to replace the IOP Connector’s pavement markings to make accommodations on the bridge for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Buckhannon says the plans involve reducing the center median from 10’ to 4’, expand the existing pedestrian lanes from 4’ to 5’, installing a 4’6” bicycle lane and a 3’6” buffer between the bicycle lane and the vehicular lane.
The state’s proposal is to make these changes on both sides of the connector.
SCDOT added that “the re-striping plan [also] adds 3-feet of additional space to the outside of each vehicle travel lane for emergency services.”
SCDOT said that it has been working closely with Charleston Moves and the East Coast Greenway on the plans.
The department reasoned that “South Carolina, like most other states is seeing an increase in fatalities and serious injuries associated with bicyclists and pedestrians. SCDOT understands the need to safely design and construct roadways that accommodate all modes of transportation and is incorporating all these ideas is into a ‘Complete Streets Policy.'”
Buckhannon said the SCDOT is also looking to reduce the connector’s speed limit from 55 mph to 45 mph for safety bike and pedestrian safety.
“Obviously, this proposal presents some significant concerns with eliminating the emergency center median that is used to ensure unobstructed access to the island for emergency personnel in the event of emergencies,” said Buckhannon in his post.
He went on to say, “This proposed plan would direct traffic during an emergency response onto the bike path. Depending on the emergency incident location, this could also cause emergency personnel to work in conditions where traffic would be moving on both sides of the working space.”
The South Carolina Department of Transportation is expected to present the plans to the Public Safety Committee on February 4th.
Buckhannon said the state is planning to fast-track the project for completion this spring.