A recent opinion column in the Post and Courier calls on South Carolina’s Department of Transportation (SCDOT) to think more about cyclists’ needs and safety on the James Island Connector. SCDOT recently banned pedestrians and cyclists on the popular bridge after a recent cyclist death. No safe and efficient alternate routes currently exist for those seeking to get to James Island by foot or bike.
The op-ed calls for both improvements to the connector and other routes for the sake of cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge was not originally designed to handle anything but cars and trucks, but local officials have long debated ways to make the connector safer. The local mayor, Joe Riley, supported a recent measure to convert one lane on the bridge for pedestrian and bicycle use, but funding issues have stymied the effort.
Charleston Moves, a local advocacy group, is looking for alternatives to a complete ban. Charleston Moves says the SCDOT ban is “running away from what’s needed.” The group has begun talks with engineers to discuss the viability of foot and bike traffic on the bridge. Possible alternatives may include a cantilevered walkway, retrofitting the bridge, and/or lowering the speed limit. So far, SCDOT has not joined the talks.
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