The growth of our community has picked up its pace over the last several years. Every day we hear of new people moving to the Charleston area, and it’s easy to understand why.
This area is full of interesting attractions, great restaurants, best-in-class health care and plenty of opportunity for personal and professional development, especially here in Mount Pleasant.
As our town and county continue to grow, we must keep in mind the need for attainable housing.
It is estimated that 7 out of 10 people who work in Mount Pleasant live elsewhere. That is consistent with our workforce at East Cooper Medical Center.
Our employees commute from as far north as Georgetown and as far inland as Moncks Corner. This is due, in part, to the town’s high cost of living.
If attainable housing is not addressed promptly, traffic won’t be the only source of our headaches.
Mount Pleasant is a commuter community. That equates to increased costs for goods and services that permeates almost every industry in our area. Health care is not an exception. East Cooper Medical Center has served the Mount Pleasant community for more than 30 years, and it’s our top priority to provide safe, affordable health care for everyone. This can be achieved only if we can attract and retain high-caliber health care professionals.
Unfortunately, data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition demonstrates what we already know: Housing costs in Mount Pleasant are rapidly outpacing incomes.
This gap will continue to widen, and we must work together to find solutions that will enable our local educators, nurses, first responders and recent college graduates to live in our amazing town.
Now is the time to address this important issue on behalf of current and future residents.
Attainable housing is vital to ensuring Mount Pleasant continues to be the premier place to live, work and enjoy a happy, healthy life.
CEO of East Cooper Medical Center
I offer my most heartfelt thanks to all of the people involved in the preservation of Boone Hall in Mount Pleasant.
The leadership of Sen. Chip Campsen, who has been a champion of open space for decades, among many others will help preserve some sense of what the town has lost in many respects.
Most of all, thanks goes to the McRae family who gave up many millions of dollars to save a state treasure.
“What were we going to do with all that money?” he was quoted as saying.
This is rare vision in today’s world. We are all the beneficiaries of this amazing gift.
Now that most of the state’s politicians, regulators, historic preservation and conservation groups, and even The Post and Courier have taken a victory lap regarding S.C. Highway 61, I’d like to offer a different perspective.
Certainly, the wider shoulders, resurfacing, rumble strips and enhanced law enforcement will help reduce the number/severity of accidents, but none of these things address the underlying problem of the volume of traffic on this road.
I have lived just off Highway 61 for the past 15 years. Early on, there were strings of 15-20 cars headed toward West Ashley during the morning commute as Summerville residents headed to work in Charleston, and the reverse was true in the evenings.
Today, I can routinely count strings of 25-30 cars, and they are headed both ways as businesses and manufacturing have continued to spread northward. The growth in the area has added significantly to the number of dump trucks headed to and from the sand mines across from Middleton Place.
That growth includes new housing developments such as Summers Corner and others that feed onto Highway 61.
The 1,000 housing units planned for the Watson Hill property along Highway 61 also will add to the traffic volume, as all planned entrances open only onto the highway.
The proposed lower speed limit, combined with greater volume, will lead to longer commutes, increased frustration/road rage and greater driver distraction.
Only time will tell if that translates into more accidents.
The Nov. 8 Post and Courier article about I-26 and I-526 was disappointing at best, outrageous at worst.
The assumption that commuters will continue to drive to work alone must be challenged and a strategy developed to lure commuters to alternative forms of transportation for their daily journey to work.
The current plan appears to have no provision for dedicated bus lanes or the integration of “express” and local routes, let alone alternatives like trains.
If the plan is carried out, the freeways will become another rush-hour parking lot, as new residents keep arriving and moving into areas that require a long commute to work.
One important fact is that downtown Charleston streets and parking facilities cannot handle more commuters.
Where is the work to analyze the workers traveling to Boeing, Volvo, downtown Charleston and other major places of business and employment? How can we make it attractive and rewarding to use alternatives to driving alone?
There are things we can do at a fraction of the cost and avoid displacing people as envisioned by the plan.
The Rivers Avenue and Summerville express buses could be up and running in a year, two at most, if a decision was made to expedite it. HOV lanes on I-26 and 526 could be completed even faster.
In summary, the charade of the highway department calling itself the Department of Transportation needs to end, and the assumption that all problems can be solved by building new roads must be challenged. Other states and cities are doing it. We need to move in that direction.
FRITZ SAENGER JR.
Lettered Olive Lane
Low voter turnout
I was dismayed by the turnout for the recent Mount Pleasant Town Council election. In a well-educated town, it’s appalling that only about 16% of registered voters cast ballots.
There have been numerous letters to the editor complaining about growth, traffic, housing and quality of life issues.
If you didn’t take the time to learn about the candidates and vote, shame on you. You’ll have no right to complain when problems important to you go unaddressed by your Town Council. You can’t expect things to change amid such voter apathy.