Riders call for speedy completion of West Ashley bike lane

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Riders and activists gathered outside of Charleston City Hall to show support for a bike lane across the Ashley River - DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
  • Riders and activists gathered outside of Charleston City Hall to show support for a bike lane across the Ashley River
Bike activists took a stand Monday as a crowd assembled outside of City Hall to call for the completion of the dedicated bike and pedestrian lane to connect West Ashley to downtown.

One lane of the T. Allen Legare Bridge is currently closed to traffic as county officials examine the impact that the proposed project will have on traffic entering the peninsula. Early results seem to agree that dedicating a lane to cyclists will have minimal impact on commute times for drivers. This is good news for commuters, but those who gathered at City Hall feel that more must be done to finally make the $2 million project a reality.

“We have two simple asks tonight. The first ask is that Mayor Tecklenburg, you are in office and your opponent who opposed the bike lane during the election is not in office. So we’re asking you to publicly support the bike lane,” said Kurt Cavanaugh, executive director of Charleston Moves. “The second ask is the county has set three dates now for this project’s completion. The first date was within 12 to 16 months of the City Council vote in 2014. Last August, when the project should have been finished, we got an update, and it was moved to Jan. 1, 2017. Inexplicably, that has changed again, and it is now going to be finished in late summer, early fall 2017. We’re asking the county to stick to a 2016 completion ­— not groundbreaking, a completion of the actual bike and pedestrian lane.”

During his campaign for mayor of Charleston, Tecklenburg was challenged by his opponent for his willingness to close down a lane of traffic to test the effect on traffic. Since that time, several members of City Council have voiced their opposition to the bike lane which was approved more than two years ago.

“It’s been fully voted on by City Council and County Council. It’s a funded project, and it’s gone through a test that we probably didn’t need, and the test is working. It’s time to go,” said City Councilman Mike Seekings, who spoke out in support of the project. “I was thinking today, I’ve been on City Council now for the better part of seven years. We have yet to do a full transportation project in the city that’s dedicated to something other than cars since I sat on City Council. That tells you something. It’s time.”


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