Who Owns The Streets? You Do.

By Enough Pie  

Our streets are not safe. On March 23, art gallery owner and East Side resident Erin Nathanson was hit trying to walk across the Crosstown at Rutledge, resulting in surgery and a long road to recovery.

Too many stories like hers unfold every week about neighbors being harmed or killed while traveling through Charleston.

Erin posted her powerful story on Facebook with a plea to: “Please, dear friends, slow down, be extra careful as people’s minds are so distracted these days. Life can change fast. Never stop reminding your loved ones you love them, and if you can spare some positive energy, please send it our way.”

The recent PLEASE SLOW DOWN campaign launched by Enough Pie and Charleston Moves (local non-profit organizations) is a direct response to Erin’s experience and her powerful Facebook post.

Along with neighborhood organizations and residents, the community has come together to shine a light on the often shameful conditions in Charleston when we walk, bike or bus. AWAKENING: MOTION is about equality in mobility.

Maybe you’ve seen the work — have you noticed the addition of colorful crosswalks on Upper King Street? Or the new unique bus stops on Meeting Street?

What about the crocheted boat sail at the Eastside’s St. Julian Devine? Or the giant colorful xylophone across from Food Lion?

Maybe you saw the PLEASE SLOW DOWN signs outside of Martha Lou’s. Collectively these projects are a part of AWAKENING: MOTION, a series of public art that is transforming the streets in the Upper Peninsula by showcasing what’s possible when communities unite to create safe, connected, dignified transportation.

Everyone has the right to get from Point A to Point B safely, affordably and with dignity. Charleston’s Upper Peninsula is home to six neighborhoods with 3,100+ residents, 1,500+ housing units and 500+ businesses.

Within this landscape, there are countless broken sidewalks, absent crosswalks and bike lanes, and subpar bus stops. The CARTA 20-route on King Street services 454 rides per day.  That is 454 trips to work, 454 stops at the hospital, 454 rides to get groceries, and 454 kids taken to school.  Our efforts are to address this issue using ingenuity and creativity to tackle these infrastructure challenges.

In addition to creative efforts, we also launched JUST RIDE, an affordable bike share option for low-to-moderate income residents. For just $5 per year, riders can use a Holy Spokes bike (the mint green ones at stations across Charleston) for up to 2 hours per day.

Stations are now located at the Food Lion Plaza on King, in the Eastside at Hampstead Park, and in Bridgeview Village. Another bike station is slated to come to the Upper Peninsula.

If you have an idea about where it should reside, please email: [email protected]

Who owns the streets? We do. Let’s connect to ensure that we can safely walk, bike and bus with dignity around this great city.

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