People Pedal CHS (the downtown bike plan) has begun implementation with shared-lane markings (“sharrows”) on select city-owned peninsular streets. Sharrows remind users that people on bicycles and in motor vehicles alike are to respectfully and safely share the space. The City of Charleston’s Traffic & Transportation Department started on June 6, 2018 with Hester Street, and will install more on specific city streets through mid-July. Charleston County is also coordinating sharrow installation this summer, alongside resurfacing projects that align with the plan.
In 2014, Charleston Moves and the City of Charleston began collaborating to develop a “minimum grid” for moving around the peninsula by bicycle. As part of this process, over 1,300 constituents submitted their preferred bicycle routes to inform the network. With the plan now complete, the network identifies design treatments for different types of downtown roadways. While certain neighborhood streets are safe for people on bikes right now, other streets will benefit from sharrows, and high-trafficked streets require protected bike lanes or even separate paths. People Pedal CHS is the first comprehensive bicycle infrastructure study for downtown Charleston and is vital to creating a safe and connected transportation system. Ensuring the highly-populated peninsula is safe for biking also ensures connections to current and future public transit projects and improving roadways to be safer for motorists.
“Just getting paint on the ground, even with something as simple as sharrows, is a big deal, because it is clear that people on bikes belong,” says Katie Zimmerman, Executive Director of Charleston Moves. “In order to minimize motor vehicle congestion, improve health and public safety, and provide more equitable modes of transit in a dense environment like the peninsula, we must have appropriate bicycle infrastructure. The city’s first steps with sharrows show they mean business, laying the groundwork for more types of designs installed.”
City of Charleston Director of Traffic & Transportation Keith Benjamin said, “Safety, connectivity and accessibility are major transportation themes that guide many of the city’s planning efforts. As we push towards implementation, it is important to examine how bikes, pedestrians, motor vehicles and other forms of transit interact with each other. The installation of these sharrow markings is just one step toward identifying the best ways for residents to safely navigate our city.”
For more information, visit charlestonmoves.org.