Every city can’t be a Copenhagen. And many areas don’t have the resources to sink into becoming bicycle-friendly that places like Boston, Chicago or Portland do.
But even small towns and cities can dream about a web of bike trails and paths that reduce traffic, ease parking problems and improve the health of bikers.
And once they have a dream, they can start making it happen.
On this page, columnist Derrick Jackson describes big plans for Boston. Its mayor is committed, and it has a program and staff dedicated to making them happen.
It would be exciting if every city and town in the Lowcountry had a similar dream of bicycle accessibility. Mount Pleasant, Charleston, Charleston County and Goose Creek all are making progress.
But some local obstacles are challenging — providing safe routes across the Ashley River, for example. The county is planning to convert one lane of motor traffic to bike traffic on the bridge from West Ashley to the peninsula, and the city has agreed to spend $75,000 to study how the James Island connector can be made safer for bicycling. But there is still need for access across the north Ashley and Wappoo Creek.
While each municipality needs to rise to the challenge, bike routes need to be coordinated through the entire region.
The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments has high hopes with big projects like the East Coast Greenway and small projects sprinkled across the region. But many of the 1,788 miles of trails shown on its maps are still just wishful thinking.
There are miles and miles to go.
As the Lowcountry’s beauty and climate draw more and more visitors and new residents, and as industry continues to expand, bicycling becomes more and more important.
Boston is dreaming big. The Lowcountry should too.