The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) presented a plan of attack in order to make the roadways safer for pedestrians and bicyclists in downtown Charleston.
The plan was shown at a drop-in meeting at Bethel United Methodist Church Thursday night.
“Today is just a public outreach,” said Kaylon Meetze, SCDOT Project Manager. “We want to get comments. You know, we’re not the ones walking on the streets every day, so we want the public’s input on where we can make better improvements and if they are in favor of the improvements that we are proposing.”
State officials said they plan to spend $3.6 million in federal money, courtesy of the Highway Safety Improvement Program, to increase visibility and safety for the pedestrians and bicyclists who enjoy downtown.
According to state officials, in the past eight and a half years, there have been over 180 crashes on King, Meeting, St. Phillip and Calhoun streets involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Four of those crashes were fatal.
The project boundaries are defined as follows:
- Meeting Street: From Line Street to Broad Street.
- King Street: From Line Street to Broad Street.
- St. Phillip Street: From Line Street to George Street.
- Calhoun Street: From Ashley Avenue to Washington Street.
To improve safety, the department plans to shrink King Street down to one travel lane and add bicycle lanes starting from Calhoun Street down to Broad Street.
They also plan to study street lighting on St. Phillip and Calhoun streets and install rapid flashing beacons on all four aforementioned streets.
At Market Street, the department plans to have all traffic stop at the same time, so all pedestrians can cross safely once the light turns red.
The department said they plan to start construction in late 2023 and will be coordinating with the county on times around events happening downtown. They also said it would take about a year to complete construction.