In preparation for the flood of visitors arriving in Charleston to view the eclipse, city officials are considering banning all tour vehicles from operating on the peninsula on Aug. 21.
During the upcoming Aug. 15 meeting of Charleston’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, officials will be asked to vote on a request from the city’s Department of Livability and Tourism. In a memo to the committee, the Department of Livability and Tourism lays out their concerns for the upcoming eclipse — namely traffic — which county officials have already said will be one of the main challenges
during the event.
“On Mon. Aug. 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will start in Oregon and cross the country, leaving Charleston as one of the last places that people can see the eclipse before it goes out to sea. NASA predicts that 1 million people will visit our region for this event,” states the memo. “The city can only speculate as to the number of visitors that will travel to the city of Charleston to view this solar event. However, the city is aware that hotel reservations and occupancy rates are at a record high leading up to the event.”
Charleston is expected to only experience about a minute and a half of total darkness around 2:26 p.m., but the entire eclipse cycle will span nearly three hours. The city’s Department of Livability and Tourism expects traffic to reach unprecedented volumes following the eclipse as visitors and residents attempt to leave the peninsula at the same time.
“Therefore, the city believes that it is in the best interest and safety of residents, visitors, and citizens to prohibit tour vehicles, including horse carriages, small tour busses, etc. from operating on the peninsula on Aug. 21, 2017, to help alleviate and assist with traffic congestion,” as stated in the Department of Livability and Tourism’s request to the Traffic and Transportation Committee.