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Edwin Gardner Peninsula Task Force

Mobility Sub-committee
June 22, 2012


The Peninsula of Charleston is a unique urban environment. Its size, human scale,
architecture and dense network of streets lend itself to many different forms of transportation.
The Peninsula is relatively small in size and is broken down into even smaller neighborhoods
that are easy to traverse, its historic urban fabric is designed to accommodate safe and
enjoyable travel on foot, and it has a connected street network with short blocks that provide
many route options. Indeed, this is a unique setting that requires a forward-thinking vision for
mobility.

Our streets on the Peninsula accommodate about as much automobile traffic as they can.
There is little capacity that remains. In fact, for the most part automobile traffic volumes are
static. It is expected that traffic congestion will remain relatively static or will increase
slightly in the future. There is very little that can be done to improve the experience of
traversing downtown Charleston in an automobile.

However, there is a tremendous opportunity and available capacity to improve transportation
conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. Our resources in Charleston must go
toward dramatic improvements to our transit system and to movement on foot and bike. This
must be our primary investment in Charleston.

Our goal should be that local residents and visitors to Charleston will choose to ride the bus,
walk or ride their bike for most trips. For local residents and visitors to make this decision it
must be the preferred method of transportation. It must be more affordable, enjoyable and
safe to take the bus, walk or ride your bike than to drive your car.

Therefore, this sub-committee advocates for a new Mobility Vision for the Peninsula of
Charleston that reflects a significant shift in transportation policy towards a more integrated
approach to mobility. Our recommendation is that the City of Charleston put its resources
into creating a complete streets environment where transportation planners and engineers
routinely design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users,
regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Our goal would be to first implement
these policies on the Peninsula, and gradually expand them to the entire city.

Recommendations
Below is a list of recommendations consistent with the vision outlined above. It represents
tasks we identified as priorities that can be accomplished soon beginning now and over the
next couple of years. We expect this list will be managed and expanded as projects are
completed and new opportunities are identified.

Mobility Vision for the Peninsula. We recommend that the city undertake aggressive steps
to devise a consistent peninsula-wide mobility vision (and subsequent plan); its
implementation will require significant coordination between various City departments. The
Edwin Gardner Peninsula Task Force
Mobility Sub-committee Report
June 22, 2012


committee agreed that the peninsula has been victimized by a microcosm approach to
transportation policy (which oftentimes addresses the specific desires of individual
neighborhoods) and that this pattern is not serving the city wellspecifically, the current
controversy about making Coming and St. Phillip Streets two-way in the vicinity of the
College of Charleston campus illustrates this problem.

The following recommendations should all become key components of the new mobility
vision and plan for the peninsula:

1. Analysis of Traffic Impacts. This mobility plan would include the adoption of a new
method for analyzing transportation impacts of new development. Heretofore, the
method has been singularly focused on vehicle traffic and conventional vehicle level
of service rationale. The City of Charleston should pioneer a new method evaluating
all modes of travel, thereby emphasizing our transit, bike and pedestrian goals.

2. DASH Improvements. Continue to make improvements to the Downtown Area
Shuttle (DASH) to attract more riders. We think this must include: 1) the creation of
well-designed kiosks at each stop with maps and consistent branding, 2) the
introduction of a digital system to make schedule and bus location information readily
available both at bus stops and via cell phone application, 3) more frequent service, 4)
smaller, cleaner buses (electric or natural gas) that mimic light rail in design, 5) a new
marketing/public information campaign, and 6) more consistent driver training and
performance evaluation. The Committee believes the full Task Force should be
involved in the upcoming CARTA study of its service on the peninsula, and help it
develop a comprehensive vision for how CARTA can improve the DASH, alleviate
traffic congestion, and improve the overall quality of life downtown.

3. Parking Requirements. Supplement our regulatory system that mandates on-site
parking for each building with a new system that directs funding to transit, bike and
pedestrian improvements. We can start by permitting an appropriate payment in lieu
of on-site parking that will be used to support structured parking facilities, free DASH
service, sidewalk/streetscape improvements and bike facilities. The city should also
consider improving signage for (and overall awareness of) existing parking garage
facilities downtown.

4. Pedicabs: Enable a robust pedicab business as it presents a great opportunity for
enjoyable and convenient travel in downtown Charleston. While the City should
encourage this industry, it also needs to enforce the quality and safety of the licensed
operators. Committee members agreed that earlier complaints about pedicab
operations have been successfully addressed. It will form a fact-finding mission to
interview: 1) Pedicab company owner/operators, 2) the Chamber of Commerce and
CVB, 3) hoteliers/restauranteurs, and 4) Captain Searson of the CPD for the purpose
of determining how existing pedicab services can be improved.

Edwin Gardner Peninsula Task Force
Mobility Sub-committee Report
June 22, 2012


5. Norfolk Southern Rail Corridor. The Task Force has written a letter to City
Council and Norfolk Southern about transferring the right of way (within the Norfolk
Southern rail corridor from Line Street to Mount Pleasant Street) to the City for the
purposes of improving the corridor and making it accessible to pedestrians and
bicyclists. In the short term this would connect downtown with Upper Peninsula
neighborhoods and would soon connect to a new County Skate Park just north of the
intersection of Huger and Meeting Streets. In the longer term this linear park is
envisioned as a rapid transit corridor, but it should always share the right-of-way with
cyclists and pedestrians. The first step in making this happen will be dedication of
the rail right of way to public use.

6. Bicycle Parking. Provide ample legal bike parking on our shopping streets. There
are several techniques to consider and we recommend as many solutions as possible.
The first step can be to dedicate room for one on-street bike corral in every block of
King Street. The Committee will also research successful models for responding more
effectively to this needChicago, for example, allows merchants and others to apply
for bike racks quickly online. These efforts should be coupled with the addition of
bike-sharing facilities in the city.

7. Bicycle Corridors. Continue to expand an interconnected system of bike boulevards
and bike lanes to clearly designate routes where cyclists have the right of way. This
would include the implementation of alterations to East Bay and Washington Streets
to reduce the speed of traffic, improve safety and comfort for pedestrians and cyclists
and better distribute vehicle traffic flow. Previous plans have studied this issue to
some degree including the Calhoun Street East/Cooper River Waterfront Plan
which made recommendations for East Bay and Washington Streets from Chapel
Street south. East Bay Street north of Chapel Street should be included in this
analysis to determine if there are creative ways to manage traffic and improve
pedestrian safety from the Ravenel Bridge to Chapel Street. The Task Force should
also support providing improved access to bicyclists over the Ashley River Bridge
and the James Island Connector.

8. Pedestrian Safety. The Committee believes that there are several key intersections
where pedestrian safety is a concern, including East Bay and Market, East Bay and
Calhoun, and Calhoun and Coming. Improvements to these intersections should be
addressed in the peninsula Mobility Plan. There is also a general concern about the
safety of students walking in the vicinity of the College of Charleston campus and
how street crossing conditions may be improved; the Committee suggests that the
College station crosswalk guards at key pedestrian crossings for the interim.