Charleston City Council voted to turn two major downtown streets into two-way routes, angering some residents who said the effect will throw more traffic into neighborhoods and the College of Charleston area.
Advocates, including Mayor Joe Riley, said making St. Philip and Coming streets two-way — all the way to the Septima P. Clark Expressway — will actually improve safety, since two-way streets tend to be slower than one-way.
The idea has been in the works for some time as transportation officials said opening the two routes, along with making part of Line Street two-way, will work to better move traffic downtown.
Opponents, including Councilman Mike Seekings, said the plan could be more thought-out, especially if routes south of Calhoun Street were better addressed or left alone.
Several neighborhood groups contend that the change would draw more cars to a region where hundreds of residents live and thousands of students and employees walk daily.
The College of Charleston is also against the idea of opening up traffic near campus.
One city councilman said he thought the students were smart enough to figure the dangers out.
“I believe in the intelligence of the students at the College of Charleston,” Councilman Keith Waring said at Tuesday’s council meeting.
No timetable was set on when the move will take place. Transportation officials still must study signage, crosswalks and sidewalks.