Jim Tuten says the newly completed section of Patriot Boulevard near Fort Dorchester High has greatly reduced the amount of early morning traffic spilling onto Dorchester Road from subdivisions such as Wescott and Coosaw Creek.
Soon, North Charleston will begin construction on the first leg of a hiker-biker trail from Club Course Drive to Wescott Boulevard, not only to allow more children to bike to school but also to allow more recreational opportunities for the booming upper Dorchester Road corridor of new subdivisions.
"I don't see people commuting with their bicycles, but I believe it will be an asset," said Tuten, who lives across heavily traveled Dorchester Road in Whitehall Plantation. "The bikers in the neighborhood said they would use it. People walking in Wescott are looking for new trails, too."
The first 9,000 feet of the trail will undergo construction early in 2008, North Charleston Assistant Public Works Director Mike Dalrymple said. It will cost $461,875. Colony Construction Co. of Mount Pleasant will build the trail.
Eventually, the trail will extend from Ashley Phosphate Road to the town limits of Summerville, giving residents of both municipalities nearly 18 miles of hiking and biking trails when they are all connected, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey said.
"It's just another amenity to add to the quality of life in that area," Summey said.
Whitehall recently completed a 1.5-mile sidewalk along Netherby Lane and Riverbluff Parkway, its two entrances off Dorchester Road.
"It helps recreation," he said. "You see all kinds of people exercising and walking, and it allows them to walk to our community center safely without being in the road. With over 700 homes, the main boulevard is pretty heavily traveled."
Dan Svrcek of Coosaw Creek welcomes the new trail as a needed amenity.
"It's something that's lacking in our city, and the public will be well-served by the hiker-biker trails," he said. "It's a positive move, and it's needed."
Mike Scioli, general manager of Wescott Country Club, said he's always lived in areas that had great bike paths and hiking trails because he used to bike a lot. "North Charleston doesn't have any," the Whitehall resident said, though he would prefer the new trail were built along the Ashley River in a secluded and natural setting.
City officials insist that it will enhance quality of life by providing a recreational opportunity for residents, as well as an alternative mode of transportation.
"This is something everyone can enjoy, and we hope to add more of them throughout the city as funds become available," Summey said.