Friday, February 29, 2008

Slowing Down the Roadwise Train

Charleston Moves and South Carolina Coastal Conservation League with residents of Johns Island and others have managed to at least light up a big caution light about Roadwise's plans for Maybank Highway.
Most members of the Charleston County Council expressed reservations in some form about plans to widen it (in places) to five lanes. Although the plans call for a ten-foot-wide multi-use path "meandering through the trees," Charleston Moves still felt that a five lane highway with a suicide lane in the middle would create and ugly "gash" on Johns Island, channelling all traffic onto that roadway and creating another Sam Rittenberg Blvd.
City of Charleston planners presented another plan for a system of roadways of varying size that would disperse traffic and tend to keep a large percentage of local trips off Maybank. Charleston Moves believes this system would be calmer, afford more cycling and walking opportunity and in general present a better approach to preserving quality of life.

The bottom line from the County Council meeting: City and County planners have two weeks to at least begin to collaborate and merge their two visions wisely.
We'll be watching.
Click here to read Post & Courier coverage of the meeting.
Click here to read and view LiveFive News coverage.

Google Grants Application

We've applied for a "Google Grant."
Google, establishing a sizeable data center in Berkeley County, is showing its willingness to pitch in as a new member of the Lowcountry Community by making these grants to qualified non-profits. If we're approved, Google pays for Charleston Moves advertising on its search site. So, each time a South Carolina Google Internet searcher enters search terms that have any relevance to our cause, the Charleston Moves message shows in the righthand column (or across the top of the page) with links to our site.
If we're approved, this should vastly enhance our reach for informational, volunteering, and fundraising purposes. Keep fingers crossed!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

More on Maybank

Charleston Moves continues getting the message out that ever-wider roads don't necessarily make for better quality of life.
Click here to view LiveFive News latest coverage from Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Charleston Moves, Coastal Conservation League take on Roadwise

If you haven't read the Sunday, 2/24 edition of the Post and Courier, it contains a lengthy, balanced article on Charleston County Roadwise Plans for Maybank Highway.
If you haven't seen the article, click here to link to it.

Roadwise is seeking approval of 30% funding for its plan to widen Maybank Hwy. THIS THURSDAY (Feb. 28) at 4:15 on the second floor of the Lonnie Hamilton, III Public Services Building, 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston.

Mayor Joseph Riley has requested time at this meeting to speak in opposition to the plan.

Charleston Moves will be represented at the meeting.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Charleston Moves Weighs in on Road Issues

The following is the text of our organization's release, dated today:

Roadwise: NOT wise
…Charleston Moves Calls for Complete Reassessment of Maybank Highway Plans….

(For Release Tuesday 2/19)

A plan for Maybank Highway on Johns Island by Charleston County Roadwise will turn it into a five-lane asphalt gash that will repeat the worst traits of Sam Rittenburg Boulevard and Rivers Avenue, among the most dismal local thoroughfares designed by old-school road engineers.

Roadwise’s plans would divide neighborhoods, spoil vistas and diminish quality life, making Johns Island another "Anyplace USA."

Charleston Moves, a local non-profit that promotes smart community planning emphasizing transportation alternatives like walking, bicycling and mass transit, believes there is a better way to deal with transportation issues facing Johns Island.

According to Tom Bradford, Director of Charleston Moves, “higher traffic volumes can be handled at the same time you improve community life, providing for more active lifestyles, better health and happiness. Greater numbers of cars can be spread through wider areas, distributed over networks of smaller, calmer roadways. “Their intentions may be good,” he said, “..but you can’t just slap down a sidewalk next to a five-lane road and call it walkable. And you can’t install a winding multi-use path and insist that it will serve every non-motorist’s needs.”

The City of Charleston also supports a better design for Maybank Highway. Almost a year ago, planners for the city spent a week on John’s Island to get extensive public input about how population growth and traffic should be handled. Later, the planners unveiled a Johns Island plan that Charleston Moves believes is far more reasoned than the one put forth by Roadwise.

During the entire public input process for both the Half Cent Sales Tax (the funding source for Roadwise Projects) and for the Maybank Highway Corridor, the public has made clear its request for vibrant, walkable, bikable and safe streets. “Why is it then,” says Bradford, “that Roadwise proposes to deliver our community another “Sam Rittenberg Boulevard? Either its planners are ignoring residents' wishes or just don't understand how to design for alternate modes of travel — perhaps they’re culturally unequipped to do the job the public wants. Either way you look at it, it’s a waste of tax dollars,” he said.

The Charleston County Half-Cent Sales Tax was sold to the public as rich opportunity to invest in an efficient and equitable transportation system for the next 100 years. Charleston Moves remains hopeful that the Charleston County Council will intervene to avert the squandering of this great opportunity, and will support a better design for Maybank Highway and all road projects under the supervision of “Roadwise.”.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Roadwise" --- Not so Wise?

Charleston Moves, with other community-based organizations, has begun discussions with officials of Charleston County to point out overall shortcomings in the approach taken to road design by "Roadwise," comprised of county officials and members of a consulting group hired by the county.

Specifically, Charleston Moves is challenging the notion that more cars can only be handled by wider roads with more lanes and (often) higher speed limits. Our belief is that these roads can be a blight on communities, dividing them, creating peril for cyclists and pedestrians while destroying vistas as well.

On the radar screeen right now: Maybank Highway and Johnny Dodds Boulevard (Rte. 17).

Charlestonians will understand when we compare plans for these roads with existing roads we know such as Sam Rittenburg Boulevard and Rivers Avenue.

Why should we create more ugly, unfriendly places such as this?

In the coming days and weeks, there will be more meetings about this, with more announcements.

Visit this blog often for updates!