CHARLESTON

BIG IDEAS

Latest & Greatest

Bridge recycling

Safe crossing of water bodies is often a stumbling block for trail planners. SC DOT is getting an infusion of cash in the next budget, and is to spend a bunch on repairing and replacing bridges in upcoming years. Biking and hiking trail organizations need to organize to claim key old bridges in the state that are being abandoned. We lost out on the old Folly Creek and Folly River bridges—both were demolished. My suggestion that they be kept for bikes and pedestrians was treated with amusement by officials. They could have dovetailed with the marsh-crossing-boardwalk suggested by the Rethink Folly Road consultants. No one wanted the liability of taking these bridges. Yet throughout Europe tourists flock to hike, bike, and shop on old bridges like Charles Bridge (Prague), Iron Bridge (Shropshire), and many Roman bridges.

Lawrence       0 Comments            

ASHLEY BICYCLE CROSSING – more ideas

Another alternative: Acquire an old bridge, often free.
Use one lane for bikes and pedestrians. Allow entrepreneurs to set up in the other lane (west-side market🍷); charge them rent to defray bridge maintenance.

Another alternative: Build a new light-duty bridge for bikes and pedestrians. In our state, Greenville demolished a 6-lane highway bridge over the Reedy River and replaced it with a modern light-duty suspension bridge for pedestrians to view the falls.
A boon for tourism! In order to clear the Ashley channel, a bike suspension bridge could be steeper than a vehicular bridge.

Lawrence       0 Comments            

Ashley bicycle crossing

Having given up bicycle riding at 77 and almost never driving over the US 17 bridges, I don’t have a dog in that fight. I do strongly agree that a safe bike crossing of the Ashley is a top priority. I did make a suggestion for a less costly bicycle crossing of the Ashley in a letter to the Post & Courier published on 5 Oct 2015. I was told that ferrying across the channel is too unconventional. However, it seems unreasonable to me to take a bridge lane built to accommodate oversized loads and 18-wheelers and convert it at great expense to use for light loads like bicycles and pedestrians. Boardwalk construction for light duty use like walking and biking would be far less expensive. Consider elevating the boardwalk enough near the channel to accommodate passage of small boats, and have a floating section in the channel that could be hauled aside (infrequently) whenever the two Ashley River US 17 bridges are being opened for large boats. Sunset Beach used to be accessed by a one-lane floating bridge across the Intracoastal Waterway (tidal); it was towed to the side for yachts and barges to pass. And Fripp Island has a boardwalk/bikeway across marsh, with an elevated section over a creek; Hunting Island also. Methinks not enough thought has been given to alternatives for the Ashley crossing. It would be far safer for bikers if the crossing were tied to the West Ashley Greenway, not US 17. Or further up the Ashley, the West Ashley Bikeway could be connected to Grove Street by a boardwalk with an elevated section for small boats or a floating swing section for larger boats.

Lawrence       0 Comments            

Recreational Development

While I do not advocate the commercialization of the entire lower peninsula, I do strongly believe that downtown would greatly benefit from expanding commerce beyond the 3 streets to which it is more or less limited today (King between Spring and Broad, Market, and East Bay between Market and Broad; I wouldn’t even include Broad, itself, as it’s mostly offices). That said, we have plenty of retailers and restaurants. What we need is recreation. That takes 2 forms: Public and commercial.

Public: Charleston, including downtown, needs more parks of all sizes, but particularly a couple larger parks with a track, a basketball court, a tennis court, something of that nature. The southern tip of Waterfront Park has some of these features, but that’s just one park. Public recreational development could also include riverfront development along both the Ashley and Cooper rivers so that people could enjoy kayaking and other water sports, or even the development of some riverfront beach areas (Paris does this). We could also have a public pool.

Commercial recreation: Downtown has 1 bowling alley and no movies theaters. There’s no rock climbing wall, arcade, pool hall, and so on. Between the tourists, students, and full and part time residents, there is a market for these things. Commercial businesses could also be park of developing the riverfront. Istanbul has a great riverfront dining and shopping scene along the Bosphorus, where people are as likely to dock their boats and enter through the back as they are to park their cars and enter through the front.

In addition to bringing fun activities to Charleston, this type of development will benefit the community because it is unlikely to occur along King Street. Rather, it will expand the commercial footprint to less frequented areas, bringing money to those areas, and encouraging revitalization.

P       0 Comments            

Re-thinking Historic Preservation

While I whole-heartedly applaud and support the goal of preserving Charleston’s historic character, Charleston’s historic preservation law needs to be re-thought. Too many properties sit in disrepair or vacant and by historic preservation we certainly do not mean blight. The law ought encourage people to maintain their homes and properties’ historic character, but not discourage people from maintaining their homes and properties at all. For example, I agree that we don’t want wood siding replaced with vinyl siding, but of all the building materials available to us today, I imagine there must be a suitable alternative.

Also, the law prevents people from modernizing, weatherizing, and improving the energy efficiency of their homes and properties. Few, if anybody, would know whether or not windows are dual-pane just by looking, yet the law does not allow us to install dual-pane windows, despite the benefits to the individual and city in the form increased energy efficiency, reduced energy usage, lower energy bills, less pollution, and so on.

P       0 Comments            

Keep Downtown Unique And Charming

The first thing I noticed about downtown when I moved from New York a year ago is how unique downtown is and that downtown’s charm comes from this uniqueness. Many of the theaters, stores, restaurants, and galleries, for example, are one of a kind.

The second thing I noticed is how fragile and endangered this is. Walgreens, Vineyard Vines, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters, Subway, Mellow Mushroom, H&M, Forever 21, Chipotle, Brooks Brothers, Apple, and everything in Charleston Place are examples of franchises* making their way downtown.

The problem with this is that once franchises* make their way downtown, they inevitably take over downtown. King street in Charleston is not Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, nor should it be, and I would like it to stay that way.

Franchises* have corporate backing, which is to say money, more money than any family owned, independent, local business will ever have. With that leverage, franchises* can:
i) Charge less for their goods and services than their local competitors, and price their local competitors out of the market. Local businesses will not be able – though they will need – to lower their prices to compete, and will inevitably go broke and out of business;
ii) Afford to pay more in rent than their local competitors, and price their local competitors out of the real estate market. Again, local businesses will not be able – though they will need – to pay higher rents to re-new their leases, and will inevitably go broke and out of business.

Local businesses will disappear, franchises* will take their place, and downtown will look like a mall or like any other city in the world and lose the uniqueness that gives downtown its charm. This will be irreversible.

To prevent this from happening, the city ought pass an ordinance that no franchising* is permitted downtown, at least within a defined area, such as King south of Spring, Market, and East Bay south of Market. This keeps downtown unique and charming as well as has the additional benefit of encouraging urban renewal by pushing franchises* into less developed areas, such as north of Spring, west of King, and East Bay north of Market.

*Term of convenience. Franchises are independently owned and operated, thus, a McDonald’s owned and operated by me is a franchise, whereas a McDonald’s owned and operated by McDonald’s is not a franchise, but a McDonald’s is a McDonald’s, whether or not a franchise, in regard to whether it adds to or detracts from downtown’s uniqueness and charm.

P       0 Comments            

Future of IYWM?

Make “If You Were Mayor” permanent and link to Office of the Mayor as of public connection with government.

Thomas       0 Comments            

King St. Trolley

It might be good to close King St. to car traffic and have a trolley that goes both ways on a track. Cars could still use all of the other avenues to get up and down the peninsula. A trolley would encourage more public transportation use and make it safer and easier for locals and visitors to get around!

Matthew       0 Comments            

Develop LED guidelines for street lights

LED streetlights can save a lot of money for cities, but they can also disrupt sleep patterns for nearby residents. All LEDs are not created equal. Some cities are setting guidelines that require the warmer spectrum lights. Berlin and Davis, CA have worked with citizens to design a more pleasing night time landscape. Charleston needs to address this issue now as some streets (Kirkland Lane, for example) already look like prison yards or strip mall parking lots.

Melinda       2 Comments            

Move College of Charleston’s main campus to upper peninsula

Leave a small, core portion of the College of Charleston downtown and move the rest of the campus further north, even all the way to the (former) Magnolia site. This would alleviate the bulk of the traffic and parking issues downtown, it would free up run-down and poorly maintained student apartments and put them in the hands of local residents, as affordable housing and who would be more likely to take care of them. I believe it would also encourage more locals from surrounding areas to come eat and drink downtown, who now stay away because of the crowded student scene. The College could continue to grow, if it wanted, without ruining what makes Charleston so charming, as it has already begun to do so.

Mag       0 Comments            

Make property taxes easier to pay

Set up the system so citizens can pay their taxes monthly, quarterly or intermittently. People should be able to pay when they can instead of right around Christmas. There are way too many properties that end up with tax liens on them.

Gregg       0 Comments            

Longborough Crab Dock Area should have a conservation easement

Mayor Riley’s office has indicated their intent to re-claim , by eminent domain, the strip of land which extends into the Ashley River, following an unfavorable court ruling. The rationale given is to make the land available for all to use, as a permanent public waterfront access , which is certainly admirable. However, given the historic inconsistency the city has demonstrated in how they appropriate green spaces (DeReef park, as one recent example), the new mayor should insist that the eminent domain seizure come with a funded conservation easement, that permanently secures the land for public use and with funding for long term operation and maintenance of the crab dock.

Tim       0 Comments            

Too Trashy?

We need public trash cans – desperately! We need them on the corners near the college students, we need them on the corners near Hampton Park; we need trash cans so people will stop littering in our gorgeous city that so many marvel at. How can we get this done?

Gillian       0 Comments            

Bike Lanes

I would make a bike lane that connected James Island to the Peninsula, similar to the way Mt. Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island are connected to the Peninsula.

Dakota       1 Comments            

Ask your candidates this one question before anything

Campaign finance seems to be at the heart of special interests and their ability to influence policy in Charleston and all across the U.S. In South Carolina, donations are limited to a maximum of $1000 per individual. However, a loophole says that many different LLC’s owned by the same individual may each make separate $1000 donations. Ask your candidate: “Has your campaign received multiple LLC donations from the same individual? If so by who, how much total, what is their business, and how do you intend to protect the city’s interests over the interests of these donors?” Thank you!

Matthew       0 Comments            

Got one of your own?
Share it with Charleston right now!

SHARE YOUR IDEAS

Please LOGIN or JOIN to submit an idea.

SEEKING IDEAS, INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS TO IMPROVE OUR CITY...

Transportation

Put your idea, initiative or project here if it has to do with such things as:

  • Modes of transportation – cars, bikes, buses, subway, feet, trams, trolleys, Segway, trains, boats, ferries, skateboards, scooter, trucks, vans, balloon, gondola, chair lift, airplanes, drones, wheelchair, golf cart, taxi, pedi-cab, horse, carriage, etc.
  • Transportation infrastructure – bridges, causeways, roads, paths, bike lanes, sidewalks, docks, piers, rails, streets, lanes, passageway, galleria, tunnel.
  • Transportation nodes/stations – airport, ferry landing, bus stop, bike corral, parking garage, bike garage, street parking space, parking lot
  • Exercise related to biking & pedestrian activities

 

Local civic-minded organizations advocating for transportation-related issues include:

CharlestonMoves CCL

Education

Put your idea, initiative or project here if it has to do with such things as:

  • Mentorship programs – reading, writing, crafts, cooking, storytelling, volunteer opportunities.
  • Job training – apprenticeship, job shadowing, internship opportunities.
  • Skills for public spaces – speakers corner, spelling bee, science fair.
  • Businesses in schools programs – finance, coding, innovation/invention, health fair, robotics, agriculture, cooking/hospitality, entrepreneurship.
  • Incentive programs that relate to grades, school attendance or graduation.
  • Middle/high school youth programs, government simulation – Model UN, debate, mock trial, participatory budgeting, leadership training.
  • Elementary/Middle/High School, education assistance programs – study groups, reading tutoring.
  • Sports/recreation programs – basketball, squash, little league baseball, soccer.
  • Public elementary & secondary educational activities and field trip opportunities in public places, including visits by/to public officials.
  • Preschool options.
  • Living history events.
  • Special needs – Special Olympics, HeartSC, sports training.
  • STEM training using community facilities and programs, such as sailing.
  • In-school medical and dental care.

 

Local civic-minded organizations advocating for education-related issues include:

MeetingStreetAcademy    WingsForKidsMetanoiaLogo

Economic Development

Put your idea, initiative or project here if it has to do with such things as:

  • Development and overlay zones – job cluster zones, tax-increment financed (TIF).
  • Public funded facilities.
  • Superfund/contaminated/brownfield site cleanup/reuse.
  • Regulatory or tax incentives.
  • Low interest loans & seed funding.
  • Mobile/sidewalk business options – food truck, shoeshine stand, knife sharpening, artist kiosk, lemonade stand, other services.
  • Entrepreneurship/business startup incentives.
  • Alternative energy incentives.
  • Sustainable land use incentives.
  • Civic identity & branding.
  • Local business support programs and incentives.
  • Co-working and shared facility incentives and allowances.

 

Local civic-minded organizations advocating for economic development-related issues include:

CCLLowcountryLocalFirstMetanoiaLogoSouthCarolinaCommunityLoanFund

Arts & Culture

Put your idea, initiative or project here if it has to do with such things as:

  • Competitions for infrastructure components – bridges, paving, bike racks, etc.
  • Arts and entertainment venues – outdoor, indoor, temporary, adaptive.
  • Festivals & events – Music, literary, performance, cultural/historical, street/neighborhood, seasonal, spontaneous.
  • Public art – permanent, site-specific, commemorative.
  • Historic markers or events.
  • Way finding & environmental graphics/signage.
  • Civic identity.
  • Museums.

 

Local civic-minded organizations advocating for arts and culture-related issues include:HICA_logo  ReduxLogo  HistoricCharlestonFoundation

EnoughPieOHMradio

alliance-logo.png

Neighborhoods, Parks & Housing

Put your idea, initiative or project here if it has to do with such things as:

  • Recreation and exercise facilities.
  • Neighborhood gathering places – pocket parks.
  • Affordable housing – Incentives, loan programs, scattered site, micro-housing units.
  • Public health – neighborhood health events, walking and bicycle infrastructure.
  • Neighborhood identity – signage, art, tree planting and streetscaping.
  • Public safety – connectivity for seniors and younger residents.
  • Neighborhood policing – know your officer events.
  • Pop-up parks – Temporary use of streets for occasional neighborhood events.
  • Public resources for neighborhood designated use.
  • Neighborhood festivals and events.
  • Food outlets – corner stores located to serve neighborhoods and vicinity.
  • Community facilities – health clinics.
  • Sidewalk installation and improvements to suit children and aging populations.
  • Community outreach.

 

Local civic-minded organizations advocating for neighborhoods, parks and housing-related issues include:

SouthCarolinaCommunityLoanFundCharleston_Parks_Conservancy_LogoMetanoiaLogoHistoricCharlestonFoundationEnoughPieCCL

FROM THE BLOG FULL BLOG

Quality Housing for All

Apr 13, 2016 by Whitney Powers

The South Carolina Community Loan Fund, a state-wide community development financing institution, has been serving as an affordable housing advocate in the Charleston region for over ten years. Its CEO, Michelle Mapp, estimates that by 2020, the region’s growth will require 50,000 units of affordable housing units where the monthly cost burden is no more than 30% of family income. Current data from the regional competitiveness planning underway by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce & Charleston Regional Development Alliance (follow the progress here) estimates that almost a third of the area’s mortgage holders and 53.6% of the area’s renters already pay in excess of this threshold, making Charleston’s one of the nation’s most expensive cities of its size for housing.

READ MORE

share: