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Hampton Burbage

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley led about 100 local cyclists over the Ashley River into downtown Friday morning to draw attention to efforts to create a new bike and pedestrian lane on the bridge.

The leisurely ride, organized by the advocacy group Charleston Moves and held during National Bike Month, appeared to go smoothly, as several police cars kept the cyclists and other traffic safely apart.

Cyclists also heeded warnings about paying attention while crossing the metal grate on the drawbridge.

Just before the ride, Riley told the group that the city remains "absolutely committed" to creating a bike and pedestrian Ashley River Crossing.

"The transportation network must now include people on foot and on bikes, and we're not going to quit until that's done," he said.

Charleston County engineers are studying what would have to be done to repurpose a fourth lane on the northbound T. Allen Legare Bridge, and the results should be in hand soon, County Councilwoman Colleen Condon said.

If that bridge were to lose a lane, it still would have three lanes for auto and truck traffic -- just as many as the neighboring southbound Memorial Bridge. Both bridges have similar traffic counts, Charleston Moves Director Tom Bradford said.

"If it can be done over the Cooper River, it can be done over the Ashley River," he said.

City Councilman Mike Seekings also addressed the cyclists huddled in the South Windermere Shopping Center parking lot for the ride to start.

"I hope this time next year this will be a meeting place to ride safely and comfortably two miles that way -- to downtown," he said.