Project Backer: Brady Quirk-Garvan
As we look at the next 20 years, one way to decrease traffic and enhance neighborhoods is to move towards decentralized neighborhood clusters as opposed to moving people from the rural/suburban areas of town into Downtown.
– Avondale is a perfect example of a clustering of shops that is pedestrian friendly. Instead of trying to grow the commercial area in Avondale we should look at creating 6 or 7 similar hubs throughout West Ashley, James Island and Daniel Island.
– Re-zoning to make clusters of commerce is only the first step. By adding in only a few miles of additional bike lanes and a few express buses we can connect these hubs so that people can move from one to the other without the use of the car.
Imagine a weekend where you can bike to the grocery store, take the bus to a different hub to go shopping, and then eat at third one. By de-centralizing these areas small businesses and offices will follow. This keeps people living and working in the suburban areas which will dramatically cut down on traffic going into the downtown area during the weekdays.
This could be great for Charleston as it would reduce traffic and increase the quality of life for residents in all areas of the city. However it would require a lot of planning and coordination amongst municipalities and neighborhood groups to make sure that the local neighborhood believes in this vision.
HURDLES & CHALLENGES
– This would require the City to work with the County and State to add additional bike lanes and bus routes.
– This would require areas to be re-zoned and re-developed without looking to big box stores as a model.
– City Planning
– Economic Development Groups
– Private transportation (Uber, Cabs, shuttle services)
– Neighborhood Associations
This would require many entities working together to achieve this goal. It would require developers who were interested in building smaller and denser projects in the suburban areas of James Island, West Ashley and Daniel Island.
You would need to get the input and approval of neighborhood groups who may be used to solely residential areas but would benefit from having small shops within walking or biking distance of their house.
You would need the City to take a strong stand on zoning and make sure that future developments look more closely at infill projects instead of looking for fields and forests to build on.