by Paul Bowers
Depending on whom you ask, Charleston is either the perfect town for bicycles or the worst on the planet. Advocates say we could be the next Portland, pointing to the low speed limits downtown and the interest among suburbanites in commuting to the peninsula on two wheels. Detractors, meanwhile, point to bike fatalities and the already frustrating morass of narrow and one-way downtown streets. Not everyone wants to see pedal-pushers take over the roadways, but if bikes are going to be even a small factor in home-to-work traffic, something needs to be done about the route between downtown and the communities west of the Ashley River. The golden example is the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge between Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, which was completed in 2005 with generous bike and pedestrian lanes separated from the roadway by a concrete partition (and apparently a sturdy one, as evidenced by the failed attempt of a Mt. Pleasant man to plow his SUV through it in February). In December, the S.C. Department of Transportation signed off on preliminary plans to convert a lane of the peninsula-bound T. Allen Legare Bridge into a bike-ped path set apart by some sort of a barrier. That only leaves one question: Who will fight for the unicorn lane?
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