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.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cyclists, Runners on the James Island Connector? Soon, We Hope

South Carolina State Senate Bill 1375, which would allow cities like Charleston to enact local legislation exempting roads like the James Island Connector from a statewide bike and pedestrian has cleared three of four hurdles, sailing through two committees and now, the full South Carolina Senate.

The remaining hurdle at the state level: the House of Representatives.  We have no assessment of how tough it will be to clear this hurdle, but we are grateful to the Coastal Conservation League for their help in shepherding this into position, and to Senator Chip Champsen (R-Isle of Palms) for his forceful work to see it through.

Their work capped a series of steps we all took here in Charleston to decide the best approach to resolving the issue.  Together, we decided that the legislative path appeared best, and CCL carried the ball on our behalf.

Assuming success in the House, the final step will be for the Charleston City Council to approve an ordinance calling for the exception.

It may be a little early to plan the celebration, but the time could be close!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

After All, it IS a Park...

Hampton Park's Live Oaks help make it a spectacular oasis in Charleston. (Post & Courier Photo)
Today's Post and Courier editorial on what the City of Charleston should do about blending cars, bicycles and pedestrians in the city's biggest, most beautiful historic park.  CLICK HERE TO READ

Bicyclists, Motorists & the Law: Are Bicyclists Getting the Short End of the Stick?

CNN takes on the question, finding case after case of investigations NOT pursued, cases not solved, tickets not written, families left with no answers about tragic accidents.
Click here to see the CNN video and read the full report.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Shocker? Gen-Y Attitudes Will Drive Huge Shift in Living, Transportation Priorities

Talk about a shift. 

You'll see evidence of this trend in any city large or small.  We certainly see it in Charleston: Young people are gravitating from the 'burbs to the cities.  
Why? connectedness, convenience, action.
Hand-in-hand with this trend? a a big drop in Gen-Y interest in cars! Cars: once the very symbol of freedom for young people, are increasingly seen by them as a pain.
Take a few minutes to click through to both these articles and ponder the impact these trends can have on our transportation thinking!

In the bars, restaurants and cafes of our cities, the evidence is there. And on the streets, you'll find a parallel: the exploding number of young people on bicycles!
The implications of these realizations carry a profound message for our politicians, planners, architects and engineers: Adjust!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sea Change in Driving Patterns !

“Unfortunately for car companies,” Jordan Weissmann noted at a couple weeks back, “today's teens and twenty-somethings don't seem all that interested in buying a set of wheels. They're not even particularly keen on driving.”

This new report indicates that young people are driving over 20% fewer miles annually than their parents.  Why is this?  What are the implications for transportation planning?  Check out the details by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More BFB's (Bicycle-Friendly Businesses) Named

More than 500,000 American employees now work at a Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB), thanks to visionary leadership in the private and public sector. Today the League of American Bicyclists announced 67 new BFBs.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Detente in War on Cyclists?

Article says things are cooling down in New York City but that people are still angry at bicyclist scofflaws.
...and the ultimate answer may be more women and kids on bikes!
Check out the article on Treehugger.

Great Turnout for Advocate's Talk

About thirty people turned out last night for the Charleston Moves/Civic Design Center-sponsored presentation by  Hans Moor, a cyclist-advocate from Ottawa, Canada.  
Moor discussed how cyclists are transforming his home city as well as how cycling has transformed his native country, the Netherlands.  
Moor said that even in wintertime, snowy Ottawa, people are riding their bikes for transportation.
Among the innovations he and his advocacy group have achieved in Ottawa is the installation of a number of bike traffic sensors, some of which automatically show bike traffic on their web site.
Charleston Moves is investigating use of the same sensors here.
Hans is the Senior Economic Officer in the Dutch Embassy to Canada.
Charleston Moves will present similar programs whenever possible.  Please don't hesitate to make suggestions.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Want the Give-and-Take on Bikes in Traffic?

As they say: "It's Complicated." But, we're heading in the right direction. The debate is useful and instructive.
Please post your reactions on this blog.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

First Step: Getting Bikes Back on the JIC

A five-person contingent representing Charleston Moves and the Coastal Conservation League travelled to Columbia early today to support a legislative amendment that would get bicyclists back on the James Island Connector.
The measure was sponsored by Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Isle of Palms.  It provides for municipalities such as Charleston to approve their own local legislation that would permit exeptions to the statewide prohibition against bikes and pedestrians on "limited access" roads.
A representative of the South Carolina Department of Transportation was present and offered no objection to the measure. It was approved unanimously by the subcommittee.
Testifying for the measure, Charleston Moves Director Tom Bradford urged its passage because 1/there is no safer route in existence, and, 2/measures like these are important as we encourage healthy lifestyles and deal with our hand-in-hand epidemics of inactivity, obesity and diabetes. This is Bradford's full statement. You can click on it to read it full-screen. Notes for Testimony What's next? Another hearing before the full Senate Transportation Comittee before it moves onto the floor of the Senate and then to the House. Since it is not opposed by SCDOT, it seems ready for relatively smooth sailing.
Special thanks to Don Sparks for his supportive testimony highlighting positive changes making their way into the culture of SCDOT, to Rachael Bronson of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition for her attendance and resolute support in e-mails and social media, to Katie Zimmerman, Patrick Moore and the staffs of Coastal Conservation League in Charleston and Columbia, to Pat Sullivan for her tireless work on this and many other fronts for Charleston Moves, and to Walter Crocker for piloting his newwly-acquired Mercedes "Sprinter" van to transport the Charleston contingent to the hearing

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Editorial Support for Bikes on the Connector

Easter Sunday edition of the Charleston Post & Courier Bikes on Connector Editorial-4!8!12
Charleston Moves is grateful especially to the Coastal Conservation League for its work in Charleston and Columbia. The bill will be heard by the Senate Transportation Subcommittee next week, on Wednesday, April 11th at 10 am.
Please contact the members of the Senate Transportation Subcommittee and ask them to support Senator Campsen’s proposed amendments!
With the Coastal Conservation League, we're arranging transportation by van to the hearing on Wednesday.  Please contact us if you want a seat on the van.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Join Us for another "Bike-Friendly-Charleston" Event

Where:  Charleston Civic Design Center
When:   Monday, April 16  5:30 pm

Hans Moor, a cyclist-advocate from Ottawa, Canada discusses how cyclists are transforming his home city as well as how cycling has transformed his native country, the Netherlands.

Charleston Moves and the Civic Design Center are hosting this short event, so come, have a drink, and join the conversation.  We'll wrap it up quick enough so it doesn't spoil your dinner plans.

Hans is the Senior Economic Officer in the Dutch Embassy to Canada.

Show Your Support for Getting Cyclists Back on "the Connector"

We're inviting YOU to voice your support IN PERSON at a South Carolina Senate Transportation Committee meeting this Wednesday morning (April 11 at 10am) in Columbia.  (see below for more about transportation)

The hearing is on an amendment to state law that could get bicyclists and pedestrians back on the James Island Connector.  gets a crucial next week before the Senate Transportation Committee.  The bill was introduced just days ago by South Carolina Senator Chip Campsen (R-Charleston). 

Whether or not you plan to attend, please contact the members of the Senate Transportation Subcommittee and ask them to support Senator Campsen’s proposed amendment!

There was some concern that if it wasn't scheduled for a hearing before the end of the month, it might not be considered by the Legislature for weeks, even months.  

As South Carolina  law now stands, use of "controlled-access roadways" is limited to motor vehicles, but exceptions to similar laws have been made in 22 states.   The James Island Connector is a clearcut example of a road where such an exception would apply.   The way Senator Campsen's bill would work would be to permit Charleston (or any other municipality with a similar situation) to seek an exception to the law from the state Department of Transportation.

And, we understand that SCDOT has reviewed this bill and has offered no objections.

The Coastal Conservation League and Charleston Moves are sponsoring a van to transport anyone wishing to attend the hearing on Wedenesday.  Please send an e-mail to us if you'd like to ride along. 

-- - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Another "Bicycle-Friendly Charleston" event:
Where:  Charleston Civic Design Center
When:  5:30pm Monday, April 16
 Hans Moor, a cyclist-advocate from Ottawa, Canada discusses how cyclists are transforming his home city as well as how cycling has transformed his native country, the Netherlands.  Charleston Moves and the Civic Design Center are hosting this short event, so come, have a drink, and join the conversation. Hans is the Senior Economic Officer in the Dutch Embassy to Canada.     There's more on Moor here.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beer/Bikes/Jobs: Asheville Scores a Big One

Bike-boosting brewery New Belgium has decided to build its next plant in Asheville. It's a tribute to that city's positive approach to absolutely including active lifestyles in its planning-- especially bicycle facilities.
Here's More
And Even More

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Protected Bike Lanes Wow Chicago -- AND US!!

Now, who says this can't be done in Charleston??

Pay Particular Attention to how they treated the open grates on bridges!) 

In his campaign for mayor, Rahm Emanuel pledged to make Chicago a more bike-friendly city. And in office, he set his sights high, aiming to construct 100 miles of protected bike lanes in his first term. His team wasted no time. Chicago DOT installed the city's first protected bike lane on Kinzie Street before Emanuel's first 30 days in office were over. Leading Emanuel's DOT is former Washington, DC DOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, who clearly understands the connection between safe streets and the health of a city. Last month Streetfilms traveled to Chicago to speak with the commissioner, ride on Kinzie Street, and bask in the city's cycling excitement. And one piece of local trivia. The Blommer Chocolate Store is right on the Kinzie Street protected bike lane and boy does it smell good. It figured prominently in my all-time favorite response to an interview question about biking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

College of Charleston Bike Auction

College of Charleston Student Government Association auctioned off some 80 bikes in various states of repair (or disrepair) today, collecting over $3,000.
Charleston Moves took its position at the auction to attach safe bike riding literature and to tell attendees about our efforts in and around Charleston.
The event photos can be seen here.

Connector Bike Ban Update: Legislation Would Allow Exception

A bill that would allow the City of Charleston to adopt an ordinance applying to the state for an exception to the freeway bike ban has been introduced in Columbia.  We've been working with the Coastal Conservation League and its State Capitol staff on the legislation.  It's also been reviewed inside Charleston City Hall.

The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Dist. 43.  It simply would give local units of government the option to seek an exception to the law banning cyclists (and other modes) from “freeways” whenever there isn’t a reasonable alternative route.  It is SB 1375.  Click here to read it in its entirety.

Outlook for passage?  Good.   Strategy: quiet diplomacy.

One factor gives us pause: just how quickly this bill is considered.  If it doesn't receive a hearing before the end of this month, the process could take considerably longer.  So we're working to convince key legislators to take it up quickly.  We've counted at least 22 other states where such exceptions have been written into law.

You'll recall Jan. 23, the day the signs went up.  After a lot of hard work and coaxing and cajoling to prevent it, the workers posted them and we sprung into action. We -- and everyone -- were outraged that this "ban" would force cyclists to use the Wappoo Cut Bridge, a hellish crossing if you've ever tried it.

Generally, the ad hoc meetings we organized to deal with the crisis took the position that diplomacy and legislative work was the best priority.  We're hoping that there are no hitches and that the positive outlook about this legislation is rewarded with quick and positive action.

 There's been a marked decline in the number of cyclists on the Connector even though the Charleston Police Department pledged to issue only warnings for a period of time.  Ominously, there have been reports of motorists taunting cyclists on the Connector.  There was even a report that a motorist used his vehicle in an attempt to "herd" a cyclist toward the outside wall. Such reports have been infrequent.

Charleston Moves continues to work with engineers in hopes of promoting  a route that would ultimately be safer for everyone.  That route could utilize the expected fourth lane on the Legare Bridge, Albemarle Road, and the on-ramp to the Connector near Porter-Gaud School, allowing cyclists to

exit immediately at Harborview Road, never crossing an on-ramp or off ramp.  This of course depends on just how quickly the expected bike and pedestrian lane on the Legare Bridge materializes.  Though approved in concept, it still awaits funding and additional engineering work.

For now, we continue to advise quiet diplomacy and will work along those lines.

We will keep everyone posted.