Thank goodness somebody is paying attention to the traffic gridlock and lack of mass transit in the greater Charleston area. The extensive July 4 Post and Courier coverage shone a light on this problem, but the piece’s focus on the I-26 Summervill-to-Charleston corridor is too limited to effectively respond to the transportation problems that exist here now, and those that are coming down the pike in the near future.
The immediate need to alleviate traffic on I-26 should not be resolved piecemeal, but in the context of a long-term mass transit solution which links the peninsula to Summerville and North Charleston as well as James Island, Johns Island, West Ashley and Mount Pleasant/Daniel Island.
The area’s transportation problems are not just limited to the north-south routes; they are multi-focal, and they are inextricably linked. Nothing better illustrated that vulnerability than the June 1 closing of the Ravenel Bridge for the hazardous waste cleanup. It completely halted movement on area roads for the better part of a day, as frantic drivers searched for a way to work around the missing Ravenel link.
It seems from the article that the burden of solving these transportation problems falls on Kathryn Basha, planning director of the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, who clearly has a big job ahead of her.
This is a major regional problem, and I would have liked to hear from our representatives in Columbia and Washington who, after all, will have to “own” this problem sufficiently to provide the lion’s share of funding to solve it.
What about the State Ports Authority, which has big expansion plans and clearly has an interest in ensuring that the containers they ship into port are loaded onto tractor-trailers and efficiently moved out over our roads?
What about the mayor’s office and mayoral candidates, who have been quite vocal about how they would grow the arts in Charleston, but haven’t had much to say about helping people get from here to there to enjoy them?
It will take strong leadership to get all these voices to the table for a big-picture solution that avoids getting bogged down in politics. Where will it come from?
Joyce Pedersen Erb
Ginned Cotton Street