Saturday, May 26, 2012

Minneapolis shows us the way

I'm in Minneapolis, on the way to the Gulf on a cross country ride.  I saw a vision here of what Charleston could be.  It's no wonder that Bicycling Magazine named it the most bike friendly city in America.  We're staying downtown, near the Metrodome.  I saw bike rental kiosks everywhere - with easy instructions and cheap pricing - $6 one time fee for 24 hours of access, then 30 min free from kiosk to kiosk, or $10 for 2 hours.  The bikes have adjustable seats, low center bar, and 3 speeds with grip shifter.  Major streets have bike lanes, and there are off-street paths that follow the river - we're going to ride one of these out of Minneapolis to Wisconsin tomorrow.  Finally, I saw a rack in front of city hall that had a built in bike pump!  Interestingly, even though it was raining slightly this afternoon (Saturday), I saw lots of people riding their bikes - they looked like they were headed somewhere - not necessarily out for exercise.  I saw lots more regular clothes than spandex.  My cousin who lives here told me one of the big reasons they got the bike friendly award is that the city puts a priority on winter biking - they dedicate snow plows to cleaning the bike paths!  Kind of fits with my desire for the City of Charleston to run street sweepers on the shoulder to pick up some of the gravel and glass.

Carlsen Huey

Bike Rental Kiosk - $6 one time fee, free for 30 min

Rental bikes - 3spd, lights front and rear

Bike lanes on major streets

Bike path along the river on both sides

Bike rack in front of city hall with built in pump

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hampton Park Bike Lane Hearing Tuesday, 5/22

Note shoulder and 5' bike lane
on the left, car lane right

Charleston Moves endorses plans for a bike/pedestrian lane closure proposed for Hampton Park/Mary Murray Blvd. The proposal will go before Charleston City Council next Tuesday, 5/22 at 5pm in Council Chambers at Charleston City Hall at the corner of Meeting and Broad Streets.  
The City is planning on repaving Mary Murray Blvd. and while this work is being done, plans are to install striped pedestrian crossings and dedicate the inside traffic lane to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  click here to see a proposed crosswalk and a recent article from the Post & Courier

Previously, Council delayed voting on the issue because not enough citizen feedback had been heard. 

Our position is that Hampton Park is A PARK. These plans don't remove automobiles from the park, but they provide pedestrians, cyclists and other self-propelled people the lane they deserve. Hampton Park was was NOT originally intended as a motorway.  We urge you to show up next tuesday to support this plan.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coleman Boulevard: Last Chance to Get it Right?

Coleman Boulevard's present dangerous
 "Peek-a-Boo" Bike Lanes

There was a time a number of years ago when Coleman Boulevard was far more rural, and for many people in the Lowcountry, it was a route to the beach.
Today, it is a vital artery, critical to the lives of the people in the neighborhood it touches.
Now, with a plan to capture what's best about it and prepare it for service for decades to come, the Town has a plan.  Much time, money and creativity has been brought to bear on it.

Mount Pleasant's official web site tells it like it is: Much study of the Coleman Boulevard corridor has occurred over the past five years. A revitalization master plan developed in 2008 with significant public and business input has resulted in numerous zoning and development guideline revisions that encourages mixed-use developments within a “Main Street” setting. A major component of these previous efforts involves reconstructing Coleman Boulevard itself to create a landscaped median, on-street parking opportunities, increased travel opportunities for bicycles and pedestrians, and a vibrant activity zone between the roadway and buildings fronting the street. As such, the Town is currently performing this design upgrade on the one mile portion of Coleman Boulevard between approximately Shem Creek and the Chuck Dawley / Ben Sawyer Boulevard intersection. A major design element also includes a multi-lane roundabout at the Chuck Dawley / Ben Sawyer Boulevard intersection.
This overview gives only the most general sense of the plan.
You can click here to see the full report and plan. 

        Public Meeting Wed., May 9 at 6pm

A public information meeting will be conducted at the Town Hall Gym, 100 Ann Edwards lane, Mount Pleasant, SC on May 9, 2012 at 6 p.m. Staff and consultants will offer a presentation on the Revitalization of Coleman Boulevard. The presentation will be followed by an opportunity for stakeholders and citizens to ask questions or voice their opinion on the project.
You can click here to see the entire plan from the Mount Pleasant official site.

What's Our Take on the Plan?
The  "Main Street" vision is excellent, but we think compromises will ruin it. The critical element is travel speed for cars.  Higher than 25mp? Safety of pedestrians and bicyclists (key to the "Main Street" vision) is threatened. On-street parking? it can be "calming" but inconsistencies about where it exists can bring danger.
We know that change can make people uncomfortable, but we think the vision is worthy as long as each design element in it fully supports it.  
Here is our official position paper.  Click on it to see if full screen or to download it.

Charleston Moves Coleman Position Paper- Final We urge Mount Pleasant residents to support the vision of a vastly calmed thoroughfare. But all design elements should combine to ensure that the vision is not lost in compromises. We think there should be a review of travel speeds, on-street parking, location of bicycle lanes and perhaps other key elements to make sure they are all designed to support the vision.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

OK...More Than One Point of View

This is clearly NOT what's happening in city after city around the world..