Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Post and Courier editorial on importance of safe bike routes

Bicycles an unexpected source of help in disaster

Post and Courier, Charleston, SC
November 19, 2012
Section: Editorial / Opinion 

Victims of a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy yearn to see power trucks coming to repair lines; bulldozers coming to clear debris; and gas trucks coming to replenish supplies. Bicycles are likely not high on their list.
But maybe they should be.

During a crippling earthquake in Japan in March 2011, people discovered that bikes can go where cars and trucks can't go, even if they had gas to operate them.

And while no one would say they were game changers, bicycle brigades bearing supplies fanned out in the wake of Sandy to hard-to-reach areas. Limited supplies, yes. But unlimited appreciation from people who needed the water and diapers and flashlights they delivered.

In the Lowcountry, biking is still mostly for recreation and commuting to and from work and school.

But elsewhere cargo bikes have become popular with people who want to pedal to the grocery store or to pick up children from school.

The city of Portland, Ore., is encouraging people with cargo bikes to get training and disaster supplies so that they can be of service in the event of a disaster.

We certainly hope those supplies will not be needed in Portland or in the Charleston area.

But we can add one more item to the list of reasons to make this area more accessible to bicycles. And if we continue to dodge disasters, the paths and lanes will be well used nevertheless.


Copyright, 2012, The Post and Courier. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Minneapolis shows us the way

I'm in Minneapolis, on the way to the Gulf on a cross country ride.  I saw a vision here of what Charleston could be.  It's no wonder that Bicycling Magazine named it the most bike friendly city in America.  We're staying downtown, near the Metrodome.  I saw bike rental kiosks everywhere - with easy instructions and cheap pricing - $6 one time fee for 24 hours of access, then 30 min free from kiosk to kiosk, or $10 for 2 hours.  The bikes have adjustable seats, low center bar, and 3 speeds with grip shifter.  Major streets have bike lanes, and there are off-street paths that follow the river - we're going to ride one of these out of Minneapolis to Wisconsin tomorrow.  Finally, I saw a rack in front of city hall that had a built in bike pump!  Interestingly, even though it was raining slightly this afternoon (Saturday), I saw lots of people riding their bikes - they looked like they were headed somewhere - not necessarily out for exercise.  I saw lots more regular clothes than spandex.  My cousin who lives here told me one of the big reasons they got the bike friendly award is that the city puts a priority on winter biking - they dedicate snow plows to cleaning the bike paths!  Kind of fits with my desire for the City of Charleston to run street sweepers on the shoulder to pick up some of the gravel and glass.

Carlsen Huey

Bike Rental Kiosk - $6 one time fee, free for 30 min

Rental bikes - 3spd, lights front and rear

Bike lanes on major streets

Bike path along the river on both sides

Bike rack in front of city hall with built in pump

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hampton Park Bike Lane Hearing Tuesday, 5/22

Note shoulder and 5' bike lane
on the left, car lane right

Charleston Moves endorses plans for a bike/pedestrian lane closure proposed for Hampton Park/Mary Murray Blvd. The proposal will go before Charleston City Council next Tuesday, 5/22 at 5pm in Council Chambers at Charleston City Hall at the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets.  
The City is planning on repaving Mary Murray Blvd. and while this work is being done, plans are to install striped pedestrian crossings and dedicate the inside traffic lane to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  click here to see a proposed crosswalk and a recent article from the Post & Courier

Previously, Council delayed voting on the issue because not enough citizen feedback had been heard. 

Our position is that Hampton Park is A PARK. These plans don't remove automobiles from the park, but they provide pedestrians, cyclists and other self-propelled people the lane they deserve. Hampton Park was was NOT originally intended as a motorway.  We urge you to show up next tuesday to support this plan.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coleman Boulevard: Last Chance to Get it Right?

Coleman Boulevard's present dangerous
 "Peek-a-Boo" Bike Lanes

There was a time a number of years ago when Coleman Boulevard was far more rural, and for many people in the Lowcountry, it was a route to the beach.
Today, it is a vital artery, critical to the lives of the people in the neighborhood it touches.
Now, with a plan to capture what's best about it and prepare it for service for decades to come, the Town has a plan.  Much time, money and creativity has been brought to bear on it.

Mount Pleasant's official web site tells it like it is: Much study of the Coleman Boulevard corridor has occurred over the past five years. A revitalization master plan developed in 2008 with significant public and business input has resulted in numerous zoning and development guideline revisions that encourages mixed-use developments within a “Main Street” setting. A major component of these previous efforts involves reconstructing Coleman Boulevard itself to create a landscaped median, on-street parking opportunities, increased travel opportunities for bicycles and pedestrians, and a vibrant activity zone between the roadway and buildings fronting the street. As such, the Town is currently performing this design upgrade on the one mile portion of Coleman Boulevard between approximately Shem Creek and the Chuck Dawley / Ben Sawyer Boulevard intersection. A major design element also includes a multi-lane roundabout at the Chuck Dawley / Ben Sawyer Boulevard intersection.
This overview gives only the most general sense of the plan.
You can click here to see the full report and plan. 

        Public Meeting Wed., May 9 at 6pm

A public information meeting will be conducted at the Town Hall Gym, 100 Ann Edwards lane, Mount Pleasant, SC on May 9, 2012 at 6 p.m. Staff and consultants will offer a presentation on the Revitalization of Coleman Boulevard. The presentation will be followed by an opportunity for stakeholders and citizens to ask questions or voice their opinion on the project.
You can click here to see the entire plan from the Mount Pleasant official site.

What's Our Take on the Plan?
The  "Main Street" vision is excellent, but we think compromises will ruin it. The critical element is travel speed for cars.  Higher than 25mp? Safety of pedestrians and bicyclists (key to the "Main Street" vision) is threatened. On-street parking? it can be "calming" but inconsistencies about where it exists can bring danger.
We know that change can make people uncomfortable, but we think the vision is worthy as long as each design element in it fully supports it.  
Here is our official position paper.  Click on it to see if full screen or to download it.

Charleston Moves Coleman Position Paper- Final We urge Mount Pleasant residents to support the vision of a vastly calmed thoroughfare. But all design elements should combine to ensure that the vision is not lost in compromises. We think there should be a review of travel speeds, on-street parking, location of bicycle lanes and perhaps other key elements to make sure they are all designed to support the vision.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

OK...More Than One Point of View

This is clearly NOT what's happening in city after city around the world..

Monday, April 30, 2012

Charleston Considers Skateboard Ban?!

(Sarah Sheafer / GSO)

Charleston Moves is studying a proposal to ban skateboards within a large area of downtown.
Since we actively advocate self-propelled locomotion, this ban is a non-starter for us.
Of course there are skateboarders, like many bicyclists and motorists, who don't always behave safely on our streets.
Generally, we believe that skateboarders should obey the same rules that bikes and cars must, and...
we believe we need to focus on traffic calming and complete streets as a smart choice for city council... that means: more 4-way stops; crossing "square dances"; very limited one way streets, and none with two lanes; a downtown, city-wide speed of 25mph unless otherwise posted .....  (We even think that non-motorized transportation should have priority.  After all, these streets pre-date the automobile.)
Meantime, we're gathering info on how boarders are regulated in other cities in hopes that we can suggest a constructive alternative.
To read more:
The Post and Courier Coverage
The Digitel Coverage (including a letter from an original Charleston "Mover," Robert Priolieu)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Maybank Highway, Johns Island: A Crucial Decision

Charleston Moves has endorsed a plan for improvements of Maybank Highway. We have chosen an alternative that disperses traffic onto smaller roads and creates calmer, more human-scale conditions.  We believe this option will also go much further in preserving aspects of the rural character of John's Island.
Click on the image below to see the position paper fullscreen.

Maybank-Johns Isl Position Paper4!27!12 The images below show details of (A) Alternative A which we reject as "more of the same" higher-speed, ugly roads that are already a blight upon the Lowcountry, and other maps and sections of the projects.
Captions for the images are BELOW each.  Please do not be swayed by pretty colors and clean lines.  It is the number of lanes, the lane width, and the posted speed limits that really count.
  Alternative a - Widening Typicals Alternative A: A poor alternative funnels all traffic onto a single corridor Alternative B - Town Country and Pitchfork River Road to Stono River Bridge Alternative B: (the map) Look closely to see the "pitchfork:" two roads on the north and the south of Maybank carry specific traffic in separate directions. The result: calmer, more human-scale roads with safer conditions for people on foot and on bicycles. Alternative B - Town Country and Pitchfork Typicals of Town and Country Sections Alternative B Sections: This shows what roads would look like in "country" segments and in "town," or more developed sections. Note that speed limits are 35mph in the "country" and 25mph in the "town" sections. You may post your own comments at the official Charleston County Roadwise website by clicking here.