Flooding is more than an inconvenience
There are lots of reasons to demand that the city’s plan to address flooding on the peninsula is implemented as soon and as effectively as possible.
Stalled cars, rusting chassis, missed appointments, frayed nerves, fender benders, business going begging, sopping students, warped floors, mildew and a big black eye for the city.
But perhaps the most compelling reason is one that anyone in the hospital district Tuesday — driving or walking (wading) — could elaborate upon.
What happens when someone needs to get to the hospital quickly but the streets are small rivers?
A number of the streets near downtown hospitals were closed yesterday because they were impassable — parts of Jonathan Lucas Street, Ashley and Rutledge avenues to name a few. Some that were not closed were under water so deep as to prevent low-slung cars from using them.
It doesn’t take a hurricane.
Flooding invaded the lobby of the Medical University of South Carolina’s busy Hollings Cancer Center even before the tide was high. The staff did their best with sandbags, mops and vacuum machines, but it was messy, nevertheless.
Emergency vehicles, which are higher off the ground than many automobiles, might have been able to plow through the water, but not on Calhoun Street.
For some time, all four lanes of the street, one of the main arteries to access Roper, Medical University and Ralph H. Johnson VA hospitals, were at a standstill or inching along. There were almost no places to pull out of the way, and if there had been, doing so might have required cars to move into even deeper water.
The second phase of work to eliminate flooding on and around the Septima P. Clark Crosstown is under way, and Mayor Joe Riley announced in February that the State Infrastructure Bank has designated $88 million to complete the entire project.
The money will not be available until 2016 or 2017, so the mayor is looking to bond anticipation notes so work could proceed before then. It will involve tunnels pumping 4,600 gallons of water into the Ashley.
It can’t be done too soon — especially in the hospital district where a minute can be the difference between life and death.