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In Charleston, a Movement to Get Cyclists Their Space

8:11 AM PDT on April 8, 2010

3357134663_b797e01ce1.jpgIn Charleston, bicycles are becoming ever more popular. Is the SC DOT paying attention? (Photo: gail des jardins via Flickr)

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’re featuring an impressive example of community organizing from Charleston Moves, in South Carolina.

In just five days, the group collected nearly 2,000 signatures on a
petition calling for bicycle lanes to be striped on the newly
resurfaced Maybank Highway on James Island in that city.

It’s a great effort, but it’s somewhat perplexing that it needs to
be made. The group notes that a variety of city, state and federal
policy statements adopted over the last few years would seem to support
a bike lane on this well-traveled road — but the South Carolina DOT
didn’t make a provision for one in its plans:

Approximately two weeks ago Charleston Moves asked SCDOT whetherbicycle lanes would (or could) be striped upon completion of there-surfacing. Though courteous and professional, SCDOT staff would goonly so far as to rejigger lane width to provide an additional foot inwidth on the outside automobile travel lanes — but no striped lanes forpeople on bicycles….

Signers of the Maybank petition represent a broad cross-section ofpeople. In fact, the signers recognize that changes must be made toaccommodate an exploding number of people who are seeking safe means totake short local trips other than by automobile. Forward-lookingcommunities in this state and throughout the world are moving in thisdirection affirmatively.

The situation in Charleston points up the need for complete streets
regulations with teeth, rather than feel-good pronouncements from
government officials. Because when the asphalt gets poured, vague
statements about livability won’t get translated into paint on the
pavement.

More from around the network: Second Avenue Sagas wonders what to do about people who use the subway as a trashcan. Bike Friendly Oak Cliff links to a Sierra Club interview with Copenhagen planning guru Jan Gehl. And Carfree USA posts a CNN report about revolutionary pedestrian improvements to London’s Oxford Circus.

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