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In Charleston, a Movement to Get Cyclists Their Space

7:58 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
via Flickr)

Today on the Streetsblog Network, we’re featuring an impressive
example of community organizing from Charleston
, 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 whether
bicycle lanes would (or could) be striped upon completion of the
re-surfacing. Though courteous and professional, SCDOT staff would go
only so far as to rejigger lane width to provide an additional foot in
width on the outside automobile travel lanes — but no striped lanes for
people on bicycles….

Signers of the Maybank petition represent a broad cross-section of
people. In fact, the signers recognize that changes must be made to
accommodate an exploding number of people who are seeking safe means to
take short local trips other than by automobile. Forward-looking
communities in this state and throughout the world are moving in this
direction 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

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
posts a CNN report about revolutionary pedestrian improvements
to London’s Oxford Circus.

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