Four percent of Charleston County residents walk or bike to work each day. While that might seem like an insignificant portion at first, it represents nearly 15,000 people. In other words, as many as 15,000 cars stay off the road each day.
And there’s plenty of room for that number to increase, particularly if walking and biking were easier, more convenient and safer for more people.
That’s one of the goals behind the Charleston County People to Parks Plan. The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, along with municipal governments and non-profits, started the study in 2012 hoping to improve access to area parks by boosting pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
As the study enters its final stages this month, Charleston County residents can fill out a short survey to help the commission better understand the community’s needs.
The survey — available at www.surveymonkey.com/r/people2parks through July 31 — seeks to find out how often and how far people walk and bike in the area. Even people who never walk or bike are encouraged to share their reasons why not, and what factors might encourage them to hit the streets and sidewalks.
Those are particularly critical questions for the Charleston area as growth and traffic concerns mandate a serious evaluation of how best to alleviate future congestion. Helping people feel more comfortable walking and biking could play a key role in that effort.
For those who already bike or walk to work, running errands or just for fun, the end of the survey asks that participants draw out their most commonly used routes on a map.
Charleston County PRC hopes to eventually offer bike and pedestrian connectivity to and from all of its properties. It’s an ambitious goal that, if completed, would dramatically improve the area’s infrastructure.
The Charleston area will need a better mix of transportation options in order to remain a livable, functioning region well into the future. Of course, those options should reflect the needs of the people who depend upon them. The Park and Recreation Commission is offering the opportunity to let local leaders know how they can build the bike and pedestrian access that people want and need. Charleston County residents shouldn’t miss this opportunity to speak up.
But time is short.