Thursday, October 30, 2008

Coastal Conservation League Position on Extending I-526

The SC Coastal Conservation League opposes extending I-526 for many of the same reasons Charleston Moves joined it in opposing the Roadwise plans for Maybank Highway. Please note the meeting times and the reasoning put forth by SCCCL...

526 Public Information Meetings. The meetings will be held on the following dates:

* Thursday, November 13, 2008 at Ft. Johnson Middle School from 5pm-7pm;
* Tuesday, November 18, 2008 at West Ashley High School from 5pm-7pm; and
* Thursday, November 20, 2008 at Johns Island High School from 5pm-7pm.


Why Is Extending I-526 A Very Bad Idea?

1. Extending I-526 does not solve traffic problems.

* Building superhighways induces development, which brings more traffic and creates congestion on the superhighway.
* COG maps show that I-526 moves congestion around rather than providing long term solutions.
* The COG maps show the I-526 extension fails soon after it is built.
* Some roads like Savannah Highway and Folly Road will still have failing levels of service with the I-526 extension completed.


2. Extending I-526 is not an efficient use of public money.

* It is a huge project that will cost taxpayers over 420 million dollars. Those figures are from 1995, so the project cost could have risen to well over half of a billion dollars.
* It is wasteful to spend so much money for such mixed results.
* A better alternative would provide real traffic solutions and cost less.


What Are The New Ideas?

1. The first aspect of this approach solves traffic.


* By giving drivers choices, traffic problems are solved because drivers can avoid choke points along the roads. Future redevelopment of commercial areas can include a network of streets to give drivers choices.
* In addition, good redevelopment that brings jobs, shopping, and services closer to residents reduces traffic as people drive, walk, or bike to new, nearby establishments.


2. The second aspect of the plan provides quality-of-life benefits to the community as a result of traffic relief.


* Good redevelopment not only helps with traffic, but is also an economic development boon, providing more local jobs, more customers for existing businesses through the cluster effect, and additional revenue for local governments.
* An important benefit of these ideas is the creation of a waterfront west of the Ashley River, which would be both an economic and a quality of life windfall for the region.
* The plans offer real long-term traffic solutions, more public waterfront, and more desirable neighborhoods served by local shopping and services.
* Glatting Jackson’s solutions provide long-lasting traffic relief that reduces the time citizens must spend in traffic, giving people more time at home with their families and doing what they want to do.
* The solutions are also better for the environment by avoiding the destruction of wetlands and parkland that the I-526 proposes.


I truly believe this is a CRITICAL stage of the I-526 process. Your attendance and support of our efforts in stopping I-526 and supporting NewWaytoWork alternatives (www.newwaytowork.com---integral relationship to the proposed Suburban Renewal Zone as well http://www.charlestoncity.info/dept/content.aspx?nid=1654&cid=10408) would be greatly appreciated. If I can answer any questions or comments regarding this matter, I am happy to address those accordingly. I know that as a responsible planner, you understand the importance of this issue and the need to make the RIGHT decision for the future of the City! We should not be the last City to implement 1970s infrastructure!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rails-to-Trails Releases Stunning New Report

This new report quantifies the benefits Americans would enjoy if our officials heeded the public's stated desire for more bicycling and pedestrian facilities. It is not a matter of "amenities" any more. It is a matter of important transportation alternatives.
Take a minute to click over to the report and read through it.

Active Transportation for America:
A Case for Increased Federal Investment in Bicycling and Walking

Active transportation is bicycling and walking as an everyday transportation choice.

"Active Transportation for America" makes the case and quantifies the national benefits for the first time that increased federal funding in bicycling and walking infrastructure would provide tens of billions of dollars in benefits to all Americans.

By making active transportation a viable option for everyday travel, we will cost-effectively reduce oil dependence, climate pollution and obesity rates while providing more and better choices for getting around town.

Some may view active transportation as marginal, but bicycling and walking account for 10 percent of trips in the nation. Half of the trips in America are within a 20-minute bike ride and a quarter of trips are within a 20-minute walk, yet most are taken by automobile.

Read the report to learn more about how adequate federal investment in bicycling and walking will create healthier places for healthier people.

Easley, SC Seeks to Become Bicycle-Friendly

(From the Greenville News)

October 18, 2008


Easley city officials are looking for money to help put together a bicycle, sidewalk and pedestrian master plan.
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City Administrator Fox Simons last week told a committee formed to tackle the issue that the city wants to apply for $60,000 from the Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study in January for the master plan.

It would require a 20 percent match from the city, he said.

“They’re looking for projects exactly like this because of the gas situation,” Simons said.

Members of the bicycle committee left the meeting ready to look into possibilities for a Web site, T-shirts, working with area schools and other partnerships aimed at generating interest in the drive to make Easley more bicycle-friendly.

The League of American Bicyclists helps communities become bicycle-friendly, according to committee members, and communities across the country like Easley are getting involved.

“We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re excited about getting there,” said Easley City Councilman Chris Mann, who is chairman of the committee. “We’re on our way.”

He said Easley City Council members have unanimously approved a resolution to support the undertaking.

The mayor has also signed an action plan, which includes educating drivers to share the road and interact safely; providing safe and convenient bicycle access to all parts of the community; and adopting a target level of bicycle use and safety to be achieved within a specific timeframe.

“You’re promoting good health,” Mann said. “You’re promoting fuel conservation. You’re promoting environmental cleanliness.”

Andrew Pomykal, an Easley resident who bicycles to and from work every day, said he is excited about the initiative.

“My home is located within six blocks of East End Elementary, but unfortunately the prospect of allowing a child to walk or bicycle to school solo is prohibited due to threat of injury by automobile traffic,” Pomykal said. “This is unacceptable.”

The next committee meeting is set for Nov. 6 at 7 p.m.

Monday, October 6, 2008

State Dept. of Transportation: HOV Lanes on I-26?

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is seeking comment from the public on the potential for introduction of a High-Occupancy Vehicle or High-Occupancy Toll lane on I-26 from Summerville to Charleston.

High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) lanes would require vehicles to have one or more passengers in addition to the driver to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. Commuters who choose to carpool or use transit are then able to take advantage of the less-traveled lanes. High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes can be used by drivers traveling alone who wish to pay a toll for the use of the lane. There is no requirement for the driver to have a minimum number of passengers in the vehicle. Commuters who choose to carpool or use transit may still use the lane without paying a toll.

To gauge public comment, SCDOT requests that you complete the online survey available at www.scdot.org.

Survey responses will be received until October 22, 2008. In addition, public meetings were held in four locations along the corridor in
Summerville, Goose Creek, North Charleston and Charleston between September 22 and September 30.

Should you have questions, please feel free to contact Doug Frate at SCDOT directly at 803.737.1436 or fratedw@scdot.org.

NEVER THOUGHT YOU'D SEE THE DAY AGAIN? (Kids ACTUALLY walk to school!)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

HOLY CITY BIKE CO-OP'S BIKE CLINIC SUN DAY!

Subject: Community Bike Workshop is this Sunday!

Friends,

It is that time of the month again. The Holy City Bike Co-op is at Marion Square this Sunday (3-6pm). We have bikes/frames for sale. Sliding scale, all under $50. Tools and your friends complete the scene. We also have some bike comics to distribute. Come join us and keep the community tuned!

PS: A reminder that the weather is beautiful. More people ride bicycles in the Charleston area than ever before. Ride a bike! Make a friend. Start a community.

The Holy City Bike Co-op,

via Cedric

Bikes!
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CONGRESS APPROVES BIKE COMMUTER MEASURE

After seven long years, the bicycle commuter tax provision has finally passed both the House and Senate as part of the financial bailout package. President Bush has said that he is eager to sign the legislation. “We are delighted that the bicycle commuter benefits act has passed after a lengthy and persistent campaign spearheaded by Congressman Blumenauer (D-OR),” said League President Andy Clarke. “Bicycle commuters will now be extended similar benefits to people who take transit and drive to work – it’s an equitable and sensible incentive to encourage greater energy independence, improve air quality and health, and even help tackle climate change. Thanks to everyone who has helped reach this milestone, especially Walter Finch and Mele Williams, our government relations staff over the years who have worked tirelessly with Congressman Blumenauer, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and many others in Congress.”

Thanks also to all of you around the country who have contacted your congressional leaders over the years. Keep checking back at http://www.bikeleague.org as we work on the implementation process.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Maybank Highway Dispute

It seemed like a no-brainer. Preserve the beauty of Maybank Highway. Move more cars. Set up pleasant, calmer streets that could better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians---all at a cost more than likely much less than the ugly alternative---a four-lane, high-speed route akin to Sam Rittenburg Blvd. or Rivers Ave.

But no. Something happened in the main committee of County Council yesterday, and we're trying to figure out what.

It was Roadwise (the County's transportation planning unit) v. The City of Charleston. Charleston Moves had hand-delivered statements of support for the City to each member of the County Council. (Click Here to Read the Charleston Moves Statement).

Councilman Paul Thurmond led the attack on what we considered the enlightened plan, first offering a motion to kill the City-backed plan altogether, and then peppering transportation consultant Rick Hall with questions, often argumentatively. The tone was tense. (Click Here to Read an account of the meeting in the Post and Courier)

The meeting lasted close to two hours amidst a welter of arguments and counter-arguments about the cost of the two proposals and about other details of each.

At the end, the Council voted to direct the staffs from the County and the City to reconvene in hopes that the impasse can be resolved. The controversy will come up again (we think) at next Tuesday's full County Council Meeting. (click here to doublecheck the meeting agenda.)

Our bottom line: The City's plan is less costly and MUCH better from all standpoints, especially how it will help make good neighborhoods that are friendly to cars, cyclists and pedestrians equally. It will allow a person living in the area to get to the supermarket on local streets -- without having to zoom out on a 4-lane, 50mph road. Again, a no-brainer.

It escapes us altogether how anyone could miss seeing this.