Two-way traffic is not the answer
On March 26, the plan to convert Coming Street to two-way traffic was presented to the public before the mayor and Charleston City Council and was made publicly available online April 5.
The plan presented, Alternate 2, is ill-conceived at best. No one can deny the need for improvement to the current situation. This plan, however, is not the answer.
The plan in part is this: Convert Coming Street and Line Street to two-way traffic. Some of the north-bound traffic can avoid Coming Street by traveling on St. Philip Street to Line, which will become two-way.
During peak hours, Line and St. Philip streets will no doubt experience heavy standing traffic just as Coming Street currently does. Line Street may be especially problematic with lanes just over nine feet wide.
Coming has horrendous congestion at peak hours. The statistics stated in the study done for the city indicate 8,026 vehicles northbound on Coming Street crossing Spring Street per day.
It is expected that 25 percent of that volume will shift to northbound St. Philip Street. Line Street may experience an even higher volume with traffic from King Street now able to travel west.
These changes will not create a more “residential feel,” as the plan states. The “quality of life” and livability of these two streets will be severely diminished. These streets already enjoy a residential feel and have developed considerably over the last decade.
As proposed, Alternate 2 is unacceptable. In fact, the study erred in stating St. Philip only has parking on the west side of the street. This is incorrect; there is parking north of Morris Street on both sides of the street. This fairly recent change is important as lane width is considerably narrowed resulting in poor flow. This is exactly where traffic will back up.
There simply is not enough room for two cars traveling opposite directions to pass one another if a bicyclist or large vehicle is present in the mix, not to mention skateboarders and stopped delivery trucks.
Additionally, no consideration is given to the forthcoming Spring and Cannon corridor conversion to two-way and its subsequent effect on the area.
The problem: too many cars and limited access to U.S. Highway 17. This plan addresses neither.
No plan to convert Coming Street to two-way should be considered without providing additional access to Highway 17, namely via Rutledge Avenue.
Certainly, no plan should be considered if it potentially threatens “quality of life” for surrounding areas.
Many people don’t necessarily want Coming Street two-way. They all want slower speeds for a safer environment. Some would be just as happy with a stop sign at Bogard Street so they can cross the street.
Please voice your concern and opposition regarding this plan to City Council members and Mayor Joe Riley.
Do not let St. Philip Street become another throughway to Highway 17.
C. A. Maloney
St. Philip Street