In preparation for the influx of people and businesses, the City of Charleston has developed an update to their Citywide Transportation Plan that will provide solutions as well as a long-range vision for Charleston’s transportation system aimed at improving mobility, mitigating traffic congestion, improving safety for pedestrians and vehicular traffic, and enhancement of transportation corridors.
This transportation plan will begin to address the multitude of issues affecting the city’s transportation. One purpose of this plan is to review and consolidate select previous plans and efforts related to city mobility. The West Ashley Area combined with James Island has the most transportation corridors, with the highest volumes of traffic and higher needs for redevelopment. The communities in Johns Island are weighing the need for better connectivity verses preserving their historic tree canopy and wanting planning options that achieve both of these goals. Additionally, Daniel Island is facing tremendous new growth as well and already looking to improve connections to rest of the city through its main artery, Clement’s Ferry Road. The Lower Peninsula, the historic, urban core of the City, is facing both new residential and commercial growth, and making more effort to serve the multi-modal needs for tourists and residents alike.
The Charleston Comprehensive Parking Study offers a comprehensive analysis and set of recommendations for the parking system for the City of Charleston. The City will use this document as a guide for future decision-making, resource allocation, and investment choices. This study focuses mainly on the parking and mobility on the Charleston Peninsula. However, the recommendations and analysis are integrated with the rest of the City and surrounding communities.
The City of Charleston peninsula and James Island are separated by the Ashley River. There are only two bridge crossings over the Ashley River connecting the two areas today: the SC 30/James Island Connector bridge and the two US 17/Savannah Highway bridges. Bicycles are currently prohibited on each of these Ashley River crossings. As bicycles continue to grow as a mode choice in the Charleston area, the need to develop safe bicycle routes has become increasingly important.
SC 30/James Island Connector is a four-lane divided limited-access highway that connects the City of Charleston peninsula at Lockwood Drive and Calhoun Street to James Island at SC 171/Folly Road. It should be noted that Charleston County is currently conducting a feasibility study considering a dedicated bicycle lane on the northbound US 17/Savannah Highway T. Allen Legare Bridge. In June 2012, the South Carolina General Assembly amended the prohibition of certain vehicles on freeways to provide an exemption for bicyclists to travel on non-interstate freeways provided, in part, the City “determines that bicyclists…have no other reasonably safe or viable alternative route and the use of the freeway route is at least ten percent less than the shortest conventional alternate route”.
Therefore, the City of Charleston initiated a study to review the potential of allowing bicycles within the existing boundaries of the SC 30/James Island Connector. The SC 30/James Island Connector study corridor is illustrated in Exhibit 1.1. With the potential of accommodating bicyclists on the James Island Connector, the safety of bicycle and vehicular users is of the utmost concern. This report summarizes the procedures and findings of the analysis to determine the potential of allowing bicyclists to utilize the James Island Connector between the City of Charleston and James Island. It should be noted that the design of a wide range of bicycle facilities is a relatively new and emerging practice, especially considering the retrofitting of existing facilities that do not currently accommodate bicyclists. There are no accommodations that can make a bicycle facility 100% safe.
This project continues the City of Charleston’s practice of converting one-way streets back to two-way streets. Doing so increases safety for all modes of travel, prioritizes the people who live and work on the streets, makes the city more accessible, and slows down traffic. The conversion of Line Street between Rutledge Avenue and King Street follows the recently-completed, popularly-successful conversion of Spring Street and Cannon Street. The conversion is a recommendation from a study to convert Coming Street and Saint Phillip Street in a similar manner. While Coming-Saint Phillip will take much longer to complete, the City can act now to convert Line Street (since it is a locally-maintained street).
The City's Design Division led a staff site visit and developed design recommendations not only for the street conversion, but also incorporating various traffic calming devices such new and repainted crosswalks, artistic crosswalks, painted curb extensions, stop signs, and neck downs.