Friday, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What's it like to Ride a Bike in Holland??

My! How things vary around the world!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CHARLESTON MOVES APPEALS TO THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION

Charleston Moves has appealed directly to Robert St. Onge, the Secretary of South Carolina's Department of Transportation to review (and overturn!) the ban on bikes and pedestrians issued Monday for the James Island Connector. You can read the entire letter by clicking here St Onge JIC Plea - Final Charleston Moves continues working on several fronts to overturn or amend this ban, and is cooperating with other organizations toward that goal.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Connector Bike Ban Official

The signs went up today on the James Island Connector..
Charleston Moves continues to work intensely behind the scenes to find a way around this.  Note that the state law has been in effect since before the James Island Connector was built approximately 18 years ago.  Aware of the law, officials in Charleston had been turning a blind eye to it and allowing its use by people on foot and on bikes, understanding that it remains the safest route between the peninsula and James Island.
The Charleston Police Department now will have enforcement responsibility but has indicated that intends only to issue warnings, at least in the immediate future.  We have had no indication whatsoever that the department intends to be "tough" on bicyclists.  
Charleston Moves and other organizations have been exploring possible remedies, including legislative changes in Columbia.  We understand that some people have limited transportation options and that use of bicycles in some cases is necessary.  We believe that people on bikes and on foot have every right to use our streets and roads. But we also would never recommend that inexperienced bicyclists use freeways, like the James Island Connector. 
We are working hard to find a solution!
Stay tuned.  Give us a hand.  Make a contribution.





Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Misery Loves Company??

Word of the threatened James Island Connector bike ban reached the 25,000-member League of American Bicyclists and nabbed a spot in their e-mail newsletter (giving Charleston some unwanted notoriety....and some company with another city in the negative spotlight.)

Here's their coverage:
Bike Bans in Bicycle Friendly Communities?      
Last week we learned of bike bans in two cities designated as Bicycle Friendly Communities - Albuquerque, N.M., and Charleston, S.C.Ironically, both come in the aftermath of tragic fatal crashes involving cyclists in those communities, and neither of the bans really does anything related to solving the causes of the crashes. In Albuquerque, "No Bicycling" signs appeared last week on Chappell Road - a popular connecting route for area cyclists - and in Charleston riders are threatened with enforcement of a ban on the James Island Connector, a critical link from downtown Charleston to the west. In both cases we are working with local cycling groups to resolve the issues and encourage League members to contact Bike ABQ, the Duke City Wheelmen, and Charleston Moves respectively. 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Read 'Em!

Great letters to the editor today...
1.  on the commute from Summerville to Charleston (over the Route 17 bridge)
2.  the short-sightedness of banning bikes on the James Island Connector

for both, CLICK HERE

Work on JIC Bike Ban Continues

Charleston Moves and other individuals and organizations are continuing to work to resolve the crisis over the much-discussed James Island Connector bicycle ban.
Discussions are going on in Charleston and in Columbia.
We're seeking direct discussions with SCDOT as well as legislative leaders.
Accounts of when the DOT will erect the signs have been changing, so we remain unsure about just when it could happen -- IF it happens.
Be assured that we are working hard on this!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

PLEASE KEEP COOL FOR NOW.....

PLEASE KEEP COOL FOR NOW.....

Charleston Moves convened a meeting of 30 community leaders yesterday (Friday) to discuss what can be done about the threatened ban on cyclists on the James Island Connector.

First of all, (in the midst of much anger and misinformation) the meeting was a forum for reliable information.

Secondly, it produced the outlines of a responsible, non-confrontational, positive plan of action that we feel has a chance to produce a safe route for cyclists and good results for our entire community.

There is no shortage of passion in the cycling community about this issue, some of it based upon the mistaken belief that individual public officials and politicians have ordered the ban, even that some of them “have it in” for cyclists.  We have not seen this. While it may be true that certain individual officials may not care about cyclists, it is untrue that this turn of events is due to outright hostility for them.

The facts are as follows: The prospect of a ban reared its head a few months ago, and since then we have been in frequent contact with Mayor Riley and other Charleston officials.  And despite frequent reports to the contrary, the ban has not yet been imposed. We have very little reliable information about when it will be imposed, and if it will be strenuously enforced if it is imposed.

The law banning cyclists and other non-motorized vehicles from “limited access roads” in South Carolina has long been in effect. In full knowledge of this, however, Charleston officials, have recognized that there was no safer way for cyclists to cross between the Peninsula and James Island and have turned a blind eye to that law ever since the Connector was built.  For this, the cycling community can be grateful.  

We know that in other states, exceptions are made for cyclists on individual  freeways where no other routes for cyclists exist. There are no such exceptions allowed for in South Carolina law, and our crisis was perhaps inevitable because of that fact.

To repeat: we have not found any official who "has it in" for cyclists.  We have found bureaucrats "just doing their jobs," perhaps prompted by media inquiries.

What’s next? We are pursuing further conversations with our officials. And we will present a solid plan to route cyclists across the Ashley, both to West Ashley and to James Island. This proposal will be presented to a wide array of public officials within the coming few days, and details will be publicized at that time. We hope for good results.
Charleston Moves bottom-line reason for existence is to work for safe bicycling – a place on our streets and roads alongside other modes of transportation. That means safe connectivity across all our rivers and creeks. It also means vibrant, healthy and physically active neighborhoods.  Please help support us in our work. Please click here.
 

new bike racks for downtown Charleston

Thanks to Affordabikes, located on King St., the Charleston Green Committee more than met their goal of $2600 so that they could begin to purchase "U" shaped single bike racks. The City promised that if the Green Committee would buy the racks, they would install them for free.

City Planning Staff is choosing the locations and expect the racks to be in place by May of 2012. A recognition of Affordabike's contribution is being planned for a future City Council meeting.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

From today's Post and Courier about the James Island Connector.
http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2012/jan/11/cyclists-merit-more-attention/
......................................................................................................

The Post and Courier logo

Cyclists merit more attention

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The S.C. Department of Transportation just can't seem to get it right with regards to the James Island connector.

Years ago, it blundered by not designing and building the bridge so that it would accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists.

Now it is banning bicyclists and pedestrians from the bridge instead of looking for ways to make it safe for them. Banning them leaves bicyclists to take an alternate route that appears even more unsafe.

State law is on the department's side. Officials say people who have been bicycling on the connector for years have been doing so illegally.

But refusing bikers a way to go from James Island to the peninsula without a serious search for a better answer is a cop-out and suggests a lack of concern for advancing South Carolina's efforts to become more bike-friendly.

Fortunately, Charleston Moves, a local advocacy group, is working with engineers to find a solution.

The DOT would be wise to involve its own engineers in the discussion. The city of Charleston also should be part of the dialogue.

Tom Bradford, director of the group, is reluctant to predict what the engineers will recommend. They will assess the demand for bike access, investigate whether a segment of the bridge could be refitted to be safe for bicyclists and consider the possibility of lowering the speed limit on the bridge. Driving 10 or 15 miles per hour slower over the bridge would add only a miniscule amount of time to the trip.

Controversial plans have been approved, with the support of Mayor Joe Riley, to convert for pedestrian and bicycle use one lane on the bridge that connects West Ashley to the peninsula. But the money isn't there yet.

So bicyclists who want to go from the peninsula to James Island still must travel a narrow sidewalk over the Ashley, drive along busy Folly Road and cross another narrow sidewalk over the Wappoo bridge.

The DOT also should be looking for a way to make it safe for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the Wappoo. Perhaps a cantilevered addition similar to one that was considered for the Ashley River bridge would work on this much shorter span.

And planners need to analyze how the completion of I-526, if it happens, will alter the outlook for bicyclists the length of the limited access road.

Nationally, more people are using bicycles instead of cars. The economy dictates that choice for some; others do it for health, for the environment or for fun.

The Charleston metropolitan area should be an inviting place to bicycle and walk. The weather is temperate year-round. A thriving downtown and hospital district are close enough to residential areas to make bicycling a logical alternative. And the vistas are beautiful.

The James Island connector, which lands at the mouth of the hospital district and offers a spectacular view of Charleston and the harbor, has served as an important link for bicyclists.

The recent tragic death of a bicyclist on the connector should inspire planners to buckle down and find a solution, not simply post signs warning cyclists to keep off.


Copyright © 1995 - 2012 Evening Post Publishing Co..

James Island Connector: Two Steps Back!!

an excerpt from Dave Mouton's Bike Blog:


(Dave is a very savvy former class "A" bicycle frame builder and a highly-experienced cyclist. Born in England but now a Charlestonian, His Blog is filled with smart coverage of matters relating to bicycling.) THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM HIS COVERAGE OF THE JAMES ISLAND CONNECTOR CONTROVERSY


....The only other way in and out of Charleston over the Ashley River is to use the James Island Connector Road. (Below.) Not ideal for cyclists I would agree, as it is designed with freeway style on/off ramps. But it does have an eight foot wide shoulder, and is a far safer route than taking Hwy. 17 as I have just described.
So imagine the dismay and disappointment for local cyclists and advocacy groups when the SCDOT told the city last week that it was illegal for cyclists to use the James Island Connector. In fact they are saying that it has been illegal since the road was built but the law has never been enforced.


TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is this What SCDOT Really Wants??

Rider crosses the Ashley amidst 40mph traffic.  If the James Island Connector
is closed, folks like him will be forced onto even more dangerous routes, including
the bridge over the Wappoo Cut.

This photo was sent to us by someone who observed: 
"The attached picture will show exactly why it is better to make the JI connector safer (such as the Cooper River Bridge…..look at the use it gets…yes I know I am preaching to the choir) for cyclists/commuters as apposed to “steering them to other unsafe alternatives such as the Ashley River Bridge. This individual was abiding by the law riding with traffic, though in a dangerous area with traffic backed up, until at the last minute he cut over in front of us to continue on Hwy 17 as apposed to going to Lockwood (coming from West Ashley heading toward Charleston). No hand signals given."
(We might add that the cyclist was probably too busy looking where he was going and too terrified to give hand signals!)

Official Charleston Moves Statement on the Move to Close the James Island Connector

"Idiotic!" "Neanderthal!" These are some of the passionate exclamations we've heard people use to describe SCDOT’s move to close the James Island Connector to cyclists. As many people have put it: “Why would anyone take you off a route that is the safest of only two alternatives and force you onto a surefire death-trap?”

Charleston Moves agrees, and is actively working to turn this crisis situation into a positive, ultimately making our community safer and more welcoming to bicyclists and pedestrians. The fact that the James Island Connector was built 18 years ago with no provisions for bicyclists and pedestrians is an indictment of the shortsightedness of traffic engineers and politicians. We should not still be paying for that horrendous lapse in judgment. A "Connector" should connect the community, not divide it.

Charleston Moves cut its teeth on the campaign to get the bike-pedestrian lane on the Cooper River Bridge. We just got a promising green light on a similar lane over one of the two Rte. 17 Ashley River Bridges. We’re working on the Battery2Beach Route, 33 miles from Isle of Palms through downtown Charleston to Folly Beach.

Those are the high-profile projects. Now, the James Island Connector has become another urgent, high-profile project for Charleston Moves, and we need your support. People of all walks of life use bicycles for transportation, and their need for safe routes and connections must be dealt with!  Many of these people are actually compelled to use bikes for financial reasons.

What you may not know is that we have been actively influencing as many as 60 different projects in the greater Charleston area, providing advice and guidance on how they can be improved for bicycling and walking. Much of this work is “under-the-radar,” but will eventually have very positive effects.

We’re now meeting to strategize about the Connector and to establish most effective ways to resolve this issue positively. The issue is complex and deserves more than a knee-jerk reaction. We’ll keep you posted through e-mails like this and on our blog atwww.charlestonmoves.blogspot.com. In the meanwhile, please contact your representatives in City, County and State government and express your disagreement with this ban.  The Coastal Conservation League has created a letter/email-writing campaign here.

We welcome your constructive advice via e-mail at info@charlestonmoves.org, and we need your ongoing financial support to make our work more effective and our community a better place for bicyclists and pedestrians.


Monday, January 9, 2012

James Island Connector soon to prohibit bicycling

Article here


Take a look at the article, and at one that follows:


and particularly at the comments. Katie Zimmerman with the Coastal Conservation League has put up a responder, in which you can type your response and either email it or mail it to your elected officials, at:


Please join me in registering your displeasure at this removal of our bicycling rights and routes.

Carlsen Huey

Charleston Moves Benefits from Whole Foods 5% Day

Tell you family. Spread the word to all your friends: Every dollar spent tomorrow (Tuesday, January 10) at Whole Foods in Mount Pleasant will automatically spin off five cents to Charleston Moves.

Charleston Moves is YOUR voice for better bicycling and walking in and around Charleston, and this support is deeply needed and very welcome.

Among the recent gains: bike lanes on Rte. 61, Morrison Drive and East Bay, and the brand-new plans to convert one lane over the Ashley for use by human-powered transportation. Among the challenges on the horizon: the newly-announced SCDOT plans to bar bikes from the James Island Connector.

Charleston Moves is now giving input on as many as 60 street and road projects, and working diligently to see that the signature Battery2Beach Route (33 miles from Isle of Palms through East Cooper, downtown Charleston, James Island all the way to Folly Beach.

Charleston Moves needs to hire a full-time engineer and director so that we can ramp up our efforts still further.

So, as much as is practical, load up those shopping carts Tuesday at Whole Foods, and make sure you spread the word.

Help Charleston help you and your neighborhood!

Thank You