Regarding letters to the editor concerning a pedestrian/bicycle lane on the Legare Bridge, I am disheartened by the bitter and adversarial tone — the “us” versus “them” mentality.
As if bicyclists and walkers were lesser citizens; as if engine horsepower gives one priority regarding safe use of public roadways; as if a bridge connects a community only for some, but not for others.
None of the naysayers has questioned the benefits of opening the bridge to users other than cars (improved public health, safety and business opportunities for the Avondale/Windermere areas). The argument comes down to this: Car traffic and automotive travel time will be negatively impacted.
Professional traffic studies indicate that drive times will be minimally impacted (30 seconds). But if convenience and optimal speed for drivers are the sole measures by which we make decisions, we should close the Legare Bridge drawbridge, which causes traffic delays. More bicycle riders and walkers take their lives in their hands to cross the Ashley than do boats that travel under it. We make concessions. It’s the right thing to do.
We live together in community, which means we make tradeoffs in order to create a civil and just society. I stop at traffic lights — so others can share the road — even though my drive would be much more efficient if I didn’t.
As our region continues to grow, more and more people will opt to walk or bike. Many cannot afford to drive, and they jeopardize their lives to get to jobs on either side of the bridge. Go to Charlestonmoves.org to see video of the harrowing conditions.
Can we as a community respect and value one another to travel with patience, compassion and decency, so everyone can safely use our shared public infrastructure? I know we can.
Charleston, we are better than the current tone of conversation indicates. A bridge should connect us, not divide us. Let’s open it for everyone.