Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Charleston City Council (basically) Still Not Sure About New Bikes-on-Sidwalks Proposal

This was the hot topic for the evening meeting of City Council/Charleston. Councilman White (Daniel Island, the sponsor) was chagrined because there was a negative vibe. I spoke against it. Another woman from Harleston Village spoke against it. Most importantly, many members of council had received phone calls (presumably negative). So, they "passed it" on second reading with apparent grave reservations, and its eventual fate (on third reading) was in big doubt. The date for the final consideration isn't certain because some members of the council will be absent for the next (Nov. 10) meeting. (watch this space)
In my remarks, I said it would contribute to an already intolerable level of confusion about where anyone could expect others: roads or sidewalks. The woman from Harleston village spoke about old folks being almost knocked off of sidewalks by CofC students on bicycles and skateboards.
This is just the thumbnail version of last night's meeting...much more too it (including us-v-them between peninsula and "suburban" Charleston council members).
Anyway: I came away thinking the measure was on the ropes.

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Here is the top of Robert Behre's piece in YESTERDAY'S P&C. He's sure to have a substantial followup in today's (Wednesday's) paper.

Bicycling and skateboarding on most Charleston sidewalks will become legal if City Council gives its OK tonight.

Under a proposed ordinance before the Charleston City Council, bicyclists would be able to legally ride on a sidewalk along a road such as S.C. Highway 61 (above) as long as the speed limit CharlestonCof the adjacent road is 35 mph or higher.

The change began when several Daniel Island mothers got the ear of City Councilman Gary White earlier this year.

"They wanted their children to be able to use sidewalks," he said. "It's a safer alternative than being in the streets."

The city's current prohibition on sidewalk cycling was set decades ago, when there were fewer suburban areas and cycling's popularity was at a low point.

At 7 p.m., City Council will consider giving final approval to White's ordinance that would allow children ages 15 and younger will be allowed to bike on any city sidewalk, except those along King, Market, Meeting and other commercial streets south of the Crosstown Expressway.

It also would allow bicyclists of any age to use a city sidewalk if it's at least 8 feet wide or if the speed limit on the adjoining street is 35 mph or higher.

(TO READ THE REMAINDER OF THE TUESDAY ARTICLE CLICK HERE.) (...and there's a flood of comments posted already. Contribute Yours!)

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