People who drive through the College of Charleston campus contend with bicyclists, skateboarders, pedestrians, blind corners and service vehicles making deliveries. It isn't for the faint of heart.
And it isn't like driving through other parts of town.
So it makes sense that plans to alter traffic lanes on St. Philip and Coming streets get viewed through special lenses. And that means reconsidering the city's plan.
Two of the people who best know the issues are unhappy with the plan approved in 2012 by Charleston City Council.
Mike Seekings, who represents the neighborhood, was the sole council member to vote against the plan to make both streets two-way.
And College of Charleston President George Benson has been voicing concerns all along.
City Council would be wise to accept Mr. Benson's offer to do another traffic study - at the expense of the College of Charleston - and to delay implementing the current plan until results have been analyzed.
Traffic planners say that making St. Philip and Coming streets two-way through the campus would slow cars and make the area safer. It certainly needs to be safer. But Mr. Seekings and Mr. Benson agree that the result would be chaotic.
South-bound on St. Philip Street between Calhoun and Beaufain, it is rare to find both lanes of traffic used by motorists. Often one lane is obstructed by a service vehicle or two, or by cars parallel parking or waiting to turn into a parking garage, or by bicyclists and skateboarders.
If those blocks were two-way, as City Council wants, there would be no way to keep both lanes of traffic moving.
Plus, Mr. Seekings would like to see the sidewalk widened and a bike lane added. That wouldn't be possible with two-way traffic.
Coming Street also is in need of attention. Between Wentworth and Calhoun, traffic moves too fast and drivers tend to ignore striped crosswalks. Those who do stop for pedestrians on crosswalks can't always see around service vehicles to determine if people are getting ready to cross.
Both President Benson and Mr. Seekings are confident that changing those blocks to accommodate two-way traffic would be a mistake. They also have solutions.
Mr. Seekings would like to see a bike lane, raised crosswalks, more signage and stop signs added to Coming Street. Those changes would improve safety without making trouble for motorists.
Indeed, he is correct in saying that it is "outrageous" to have no bike lanes on streets crossing a college campus. He has made numerous presentations explaining the situation to constituents.
North of Calhoun, the neighbors have said they want Coming to be two-way, just as St. Philip Street is. They want the traffic-slowing benefits and the better dispersal of cars. And north of Calhoun, the change would very likely calm traffic.
Why can't that be done while leaving Coming, between Wentworth to Calhoun, one-way?
The current plan is expected to cost $300,000, but the funding has yet to be identified.
Meanwhile, the College of Charleston is about to have a new president.
What better time to pause, study and make necessary changes to the plan?
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