One of the issues before the South Carolina General Assembly is legislation aimed at improving mobility and safety on our roads for users of all ages and abilities, including drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and users of public transportation. The proposal is commonly known as the “Complete Streets” legislation.
I would like the public to know that the South Carolina Department of Transportation has a “Complete Streets” policy that was established by the SCDOT Commission in 2003. Our policy declares that bicycling accommodations should be included as a routine part of transportation planning and operations.
Smart Growth America is an umbrella organization for a number of advocacy groups that work with national, state and local officials in metropolitan areas to improve the quality of life as growth takes place in those areas. The organization recognizes South Carolina as one of 33 states that has adopted a “Complete Streets” policy.
Sadly, the increasing pedestrian fatalities in South Carolina are part of a nationwide trend that reflects the highest pedestrian death rate in the past three decades. National studies have identified contributing factors to this soaring rate as alcohol use, speeding, the prevalence of SUVs on the roads, increased use of smartphones, lack of lighting and, unfortunately, highway infrastructure issues.
South Carolina is a “population growth state.” The attractiveness of our state for people and families to relocate here is high. Like other states that are seeing population increases, we are experiencing a higher pedestrian fatality rate as land use changes are occurring with new development and multimodal transportation needs that follow that development.
In July of 2018, SCDOT implemented a strategic, data-driven approach to address the safety needs of all road users. The agency developed and launched a safety program that allocates $5 million annually to target high risk areas for bicyclists and pedestrians.
In this first year, an analytical, not political approach was used to identify the greatest needs. The SCDOT Commission approved targeting an initial top 10 list. Five of the top 10 historic areas are in Charleston: Meeting Street, King Street, Calhoun Street, Ashley Phosphate and St. Philip Street.
SCDOT welcomes and looks forward to input from local stakeholders on these proposed projects as they progress in the development and implementation of countermeasures focused on improving safety for all multimodal users along these important routes in the community.
Finally, I would note the responsibility for road safety is one that we all share.
All of us need to slow down, pay attention and most importantly, watch out for each other.
Chairman, SCDOT Commission
Like many who work or do business downtown, I am still at odds with the unreasonable new Charleston parking fees and, to a lesser degree, their extended times.
As if that isn’t enough, the city recently heaped a big old bucket of salt in the wound by citing my wife for “parking for advertising” on East Bay Street.
The enforcement officer explained that the “for sale” sign in the window of the vehicle was a code violation.
The car had only been parked for 10-15 minutes. Is this an overreach by city officials, a lack of proper training or simply a lapse in common sense?
East Huron Avenue
Drop in TB cases
In the April 8 Post and Courier, there was an article about the drop in tuberculosis cases in the United States.
Some of these cases have occurred in South Carolina, including at a Charleston high school last year. Despite this, we are fortunate that we have access to health care and medications that contribute to lowering incidence.
TB is still a major concern globally. It is one of the top 10 leading causes of death. This is partly due to low- and middle-income countries not having adequate funding for health care and TB medications.
We have a social responsibility as Americans to help these countries help their people survive and thrive. South Carolina has a shared history regarding TB as resources were not readily available.
TB was one of the leading causes of death in 1920s. It also continued to be a problem until federal funding was increased in 1945. We were able to get out of that position through adequate health care and medications.
Connecting our history to the real-time public health crises in TB-afflicted countries proves that we are fortunate as South Carolinians that Sen. Lindsey Graham chairs the Senate subcommittee that funds foreign assistance.
Graham is in a position to advocate for funding for TB-related health care. He can show the world that both the United States and South Carolina care.
Magnolia Woods Drive
As we watch the unfortunate mess surrounding the 737 Max and Boeing’s handling of it, we need to step back and recognize that what we are seeing is the impact of a monopoly. Today, the only U.S.-made large-scale commercial jet is made by Boeing. On the world stage, the only other major brand is Europe’s Airbus, which also has a plant in Alabama.
Monopolies are never good. They never serve the public interest. The Federal Aviation Administration, while on paper has regulatory oversight, the political arms of Boeing are many and extensive and are wrapped around governors, legislators and now
the president and his appointees.
How it manifests in this case is that Boeing offers safety features that are optional and can be bought by carriers.
In this case, carriers could have bought and had installed features that may have prevented the recent crashes. Profits trumped safety.
Boeing talks about passenger safety and it doesn’t want crashes. But if there was real competition, it would be installing lots of options, including safety features, as a means of attracting buyers.
Now, it can dictate what is and is not included in the aircraft and charge for the “extras,” such as safety features. And buyers have little choice. The company should be broken up. The defense side should be separated from the commercial side.
As long as there is a monopoly, money will trump safety.
Does anyone else see the obvious? Couldn’t the hotels in town be required to use a floor for worker apartments, and enough parking for the workers and guests? This would solve housing and parking all in one.