On the road to making the Lowcountry bicycle-friendly, every bit of a new bike path is a victory, and every new partner in the quest is beneficial.
An example is a 0.6-mile stretch of Meeting Street from its junction with Spruill Avenue to Milford Street that will be repaved — with bicycle lanes painted on both sides.
And while the S.C. Department of Transportation has been a partner on bike projects before, its decision to add these lanes along Meeting Street is noteworthy.
Initially, DOT said it would not be possible to add bike lanes as part of its plan to resurface this portion of Meeting Street Road.
But when bicycle advocate Lenny Greene made his own measurements and provided them to DOT — and when North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey wrote a letter requesting the DOT reconsider its stance — the agency agreed to change plans.
Perhaps an intergovernmental task force had something to do with that.
The group is focused on facilitating a Battery to Beach bike route that would stretch from Folly Beach, along the Battery, to the Isle of Palms.
The DOT, Charleston County Roadwise and the six municipalities that the route would involve all have representatives on the task force.
No, the Meeting Street stretch isn’t part of that route — yet. But eventually Charleston Moves, a nonprofit advocacy group for improving the area’s bikeability, expects a network of bike paths will intersect with B2B and make it a Battery-to-Beach network.
Tom Bradford, director of Charleston Moves, tells us that the task force has given members a monthly opportunity to work together on a mutual goal.
“Being a part of that process makes people more appreciative and alert to possibilities,” he adds.
The DOT expects to begin paving the Meeting Street piece soon — possibly in June.
With a new spirit of cooperation, perhaps the area can take on some of the more challenging obstacles to safe biking — including the North Ashley River and Wappoo Cut bridges and the James Island connector. And perhaps plans to convert a lane of the Ashley River bridge from West Ashley to the peninsula will be pushed along more quickly.
Build them, and bikers will come.