Your recent editorial on Mount Pleasant growth choices sounded the siren call of a dream world where the Coleman Boulevard revitalization plan would “move the town gradually away from car dependence and provide options for people who want to be able to bike from shop to shop or walk across the street for dinner.”
As a Mount Pleasant resident, I don’t doubt that the town’s elected officials and staff who supported the plan had the best of intentions. That said, it is completely unrealistic to think that high-density, mixed-use development along Coleman Boulevard will achieve all of the goals mentioned in your editorial. There will be no resulting “critical mass” of diverse jobs, shops, restaurants, entertainment and recreational opportunities within easy walking or biking distance.
The jobs that these residents want will continue to be widely scattered — Daniel Island, downtown Charleston, the North Area and beyond. Their preferred restaurants will include those that can be comfortably reached only by car. They will go to concerts at the Gaillard, watering holes downtown and sports events in North Charleston, at the Joe and on Daniel Island. They will shop at Towne Center, in West Ashley, downtown Charleston and the North Area.
And if they do “walk across the street for dinner,” they’ll be taking their lives in their own hands. The ever-busy, multi-lane Coleman Boulevard is a traffic thoroughfare, not a slow-moving downtown street.
I support thoughtful revitalization and improvement of Coleman Boulevard, but the unrealistic claim that the Coleman plan will “move the town gradually away from car dependence” is a pipe dream, and a misleading one at that.