Charleston area traffic is getting worse every day. This area badly needs mass transportation. Since we are at sea level, subways will not work. For myriad reasons, the bus system is so limited that it is not effective. A monorail was studied years ago, but never got off the ground. I have read hat the cost of building an aerial gondola comes in at between $3 million and $12 million per mile, versus $36 million per mile for light rail systems. For one example, I think the distance between the airport and downtown Charleston s about 12 miles. An aerial gondola might entice some tourists not to bring cars downtown. The route could be broken up by stops near the affordable neighborhoods surrounding Park Circle (about 9 miles from downtown and about 5 miles from the airport). We need ways to get to the beaches without clogging the streets with cars. It is about 12 miles from downtown to Folly Beach by car, but less “as the crow flies.” Check out TheGondolaProject.com to read about cities all over the world that have built aerial gondolas.
Let’s train a lot of the jobless to be street guides like in Washington DC and other popular tourist spots. Everytime I take a walk downtown there are people gazing about dazed by the little streets and lack of signage. We could have wandering ambassadors helping them out and able to point visitors in the right direction. Even smaller SC towns have better signage ie Aiken comes to mind.
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.
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.
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.
Make “If You Were Mayor” permanent and link to Office of the Mayor as of public connection with government.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Simply put, I’m tired of our City encouraging wasteful behavior, and the biggest problem starts with the residential trash service. In order to improve our quality of life and promote a more sustainable future (focused on zero waste), I would implement several changes.
1) Tiered pricing for garbage collection. The City already offers 3 different size containers for residents, but the price for each is the same. Start everyone with the smallest size, and if they need a larger size container, then charge more. [Speaking of charging more, our trash fees are ridiculously low so I would increase them across the board to start.]
2) Switch the garbage collection and recycling collection schedules. Garbage should be picked up every other week and recycling should be a weekly thing.
3) Implement residential compost pick-up. The Charleston Green Plan notes that up to 40% of waste going to landfills is organic matter than can be composted. By implementing a compost pickup program, people will have less garbage, which will be more appropriate for a biweekly schedule as noted above.
4) Stop the weekly trash pickup of large items. The fact that one could throw out a mattress or couch each week and the City picks it up without any problems is absolutely ridiculous. I would designate 2 days a year (one in Spring, one in Fall) when people can put out large items for pickup at no cost. If you need something large hauled off outside of these days, take it to the dump or call it in to the City for a special pickup for a fee.
By offering unlimited weekly pickup of trash and garbage (with limited to no service for recycling and compost), the City is completely encouraging people to waste more and conserve less – even though everyone knows we need to do better.
I would like to see the City create a portal for people to crowd-fund community projects/needs. Ideally the City will “pre-approve” these ideas and that once funding goals are achieved, there is a process in place to quickly implement the idea. This has great potential for success on small scale projects (like bike racks and air pumps, covered bus stops, drinking fountains, etc), but it could also be utilized for more public art, improvements to area parks, better crosswalks, more public bathrooms, etc.
Certainly many of these things should be provided via existing tax revenues; however, the City is often quick to say that funds are not available (and I’m tired of that excuse). While we won’t be able to stop the general taxation of citizens, it would be nice to see a more direct avenue for people to decide where they want their money to go. Crowd-funding has been used with great success in the private sector, so there is no reason why the City should not utilize this to also fund things with public benefit.
Textile traditions are the glue that helped families and friends connect, keep warm and show their love through handmade household items. Unfortunately these art forms were often restricted to their communities and had limited access to the consumer market . The idea I would like to share is the creation of a cottage industry model to educate, develop and promote these textile art forms that are a part of the heritage and beauty of the lowcountry. A cottage industry would afford many people an opportunity to work from their home to create these traditional handmade items and by developing partnerships with established businesses these pieces would present an aspect of history that is little known. Textile art traditions tell a very compelling story of the creativity and ingenuity of the artisans. I am interested in preserving these handmade textile traditions while enabling them to evolve and reach the homes and lives of the contemporary consumer. It is important to share these little known pieces of history for all of us to gain a greater understanding of the cultures of the Lowcountry. When these aspects of history are shared it provides greater insight and knowledge of each culture which is an important part of truly getting to know one another.