Thousands of citizens have written and called Mayor John Tecklenburg and members of Charleston City Council to urge support for the Legare Bridge bicycle/pedestrian lane, and hundreds more have turned out for hearings and council meetings. And yet they are dismissed as the “bike lobby.”
This disparaged and so-called “bike lobby” includes the president and CEO of the Medical University of South Carolina, the city’s largest employer and champion of health and wellness throughout our region. It includes our county’s celebrated Parks and Recreation Commission — a major contributor to our quality of life — and committed business and community leaders like Susan Pearlstine and John Hagerty, whose multimillion-dollar investment in revitalizing the derelict Magnolia property in West Ashley hinges on connectivity to downtown. It includes more than 33 heads of major technology firms including BoomTown, PeopleMatter, DigSouth and BiblioBoard that are a growing base of Charleston’s economy.
It includes the South Windermere Merchants Association and business owners in Avondale who understand the economic benefits of convenient access and connectivity. It includes the neighborhood associations of Byrnes Downs and Wagener Terrace.
It includes our Orthodox Jewish neighbors who walk across the dangerous bridge to worship. And it includes many middle-aged moms (and dads) like me, who are far from bike jocks but have a vision for a healthy, non-traffic gridlocked, inclusive community with roads that are safe for kids, bike commuters and drivers alike.
In fact, the only naysayers are individuals who are concerned about a potential minor delay in their morning commute. Though understandable, this is shortsighted. Traffic concerns are all the more reason to support this lane; offering an alternative to driving is the only way to begin alleviating our growing automotive congestion.
If Charleston can build new apartment complexes right and left, surely we must make it safe for these residents to go to work or shop on either side of the peninsula without having to get in a car.
If Charleston is serious about revitalizing West Ashley, then enhanced connectivity to downtown and the West Ashley Greenway, its shining asset, is key.