Hampton Park bike plan is worth a try and peoples cooperation
Itís no wonder that bicyclists, runners and walkers are attracted to Mary Murray Boulevard. It encircles lovely Hampton Park and offers a route that many find long enough to be challenging, but still doable.
And itís no wonder that motorists like to use Mary Murray Boulevard for some of the same reasons. It allows them to avoid busier streets. And drivers can roll down their windows and appreciate the bushy azaleas, spreading trees and relative quiet.
Happily, the street is wide enough to accommodate all. And the city of Charlestonís newly approved plan to split the road so that cars have their own lane, bikers have theirs and walkers have separate space too should make the popular route safer for everyone.
Some neighbors have complained that sharing the road without such designated areas is dangerous. There were some bad feelings between motorists and walkers, both wanting to use Mary Murray Boulevard, but doing so at some personal risk.
City Council made a good decision after thorough discussions. The city will pay $12,000 to mark pedestrian and bike lanes. Already, about $100,000 of Charleston Countyís Roadwise money has been designated to resurface the road and add signs and street crossings.
Itís a decision to applaud. And itís time for people who drive, walk or bicycle around the park to resolve to do so within the space allocated for them and with caution and consideration for other users.
Some who wanted Charleston City Council to reject the idea of bike and pedestrian lanes fear that bicyclists will pick up enough speed to be a danger to other users.
It doesnít have to happen. It seems most bicyclists and pedestrians on the Cooper River bridge respect each other.
One neighbor suggested that a motorist, caught behind a slow-moving vehicle, might opt to pass by driving in the bicycle lane.
However, the loop isnít so long that slowing down would add much to the total drive time. The lanes will be well marked. And police should see to it that motorists, pedestrians and cyclists all conform to the law.
Without changing it, the road would continue to put users at risk of being hurt.
The cityís plan might eventually require some tweaking. Most plans do.
But it is a sound concept aimed at making our auto-friendly city more bicycle-friendly as well.