In light of recent news that the Town of James Island has an "extra" $1.3 million (Local Option Sales Tax Property Tax Credit Fund) that the mayor would like to give back to the residents, I propose that the town give it back to the residents in the form of permanent, safe pedestrian and cycling infrastructure.
There are nine schools on James Island (seven public and two private), and every one of them needs improvements for children to walk and bike to school.
One million dollars could be used as a match for federal grants including Transportation Alternatives (TA) funds.
With $1.3 million, the town could acquire easements, purchase right of ways and hire a consultant to design the finest pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in the world.
While many in the James Island community are encouraged by plans for sidewalks and bike paths that have been made public, there is also frustration in the pace that is happening, as well as the many areas that have yet to be included in plans for infrastructure.
The Bishop Gadsden retirement community has stated it is "ready to partner and may consider financial support to assist in getting a sidewalk on the south side of Camp Road from Folly Road to Riverland Drive."
No one from the Town of James Island has even responded to this generous offer. Bishop Gadsden residents desire to walk to restaurants or bike to the pharmacy, but simply cannot do so safely.
Perhaps the town's $1.3 million could be combined with funding from Bishop Gadsden, as well as funding from the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, or even the City of Charleston.
The desire for permanent, safe, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure on James Island is intergenerational and crosses ideological lines.
I ask the Town of James Island to use the $1.3 million to make James Island the safest place in South Carolina to ride a bike or go for a walk.
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