Now comes the hard part: making streets safer

King Street (above) is one of downtown Charleston’s main bike routes, according to a new survey.

More than 1,300 bicyclists have responded to a Charleston survey seeking to map downtown’s most traveled bike routes, and now comes the hard part.

The city plans to use the information to continue planning what should be done to make streets safer for bikes and cars to share, said Jacob Lindsey, director of the city’s Design Division, which conducted the online survey.

Hailed as Charleston’s first comprehensive study of cycling patterns, the results pinpoint which downtown streets contain the most bikes.

The city has not released the specific results, which include more than 1,738 individual routes mapped by 1,303 respondents. Lindsey said the results show that Lockwood Drive, Bee Street, Huger Street and Upper King Street are among the city’s most preferred bike routes of the 1,738 routes collected.

“We feel like we can now actually make informed decisions about bicycle planning,” he said. “We were overwhelmed with the response.”

But the implementation process is only beginning, and it’s unclear if the city will do further planning itself or hire a consultant. Other big question marks include the costs involved — and the process of getting permission to alter state-maintained streets.

Kurt Cavanaugh, director of Charleston Moves, said that the nonprofit group will urge the city to continue writing a bike plan quickly and have it presented to City Council for approval. “I know that it’s a ton of work,” he said. “At this point, we have to be a little bit patient.”

Charleston mobility consultant Gabe Klein issued a report last year that set a clear goal for the city: Increase the percentage of all downtown trips taken by bicycle to 12 percent by 2024.

Currently, about 2.5 percent of all trips downtown are taken by bike, according to the 2014 Alliance for Walking & Biking report.

“To get to a 12 percent mode split, we have to make it safe and convenient to ride a bike in downtown Charleston,” Lindsey said.

The response to the survey, which was done between March 2 and April 6, exceeded the city’s goal by 30 percent.

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.