Members of Charleston County Council





With this letter, we are going on record with our concerns about the current plan for Harbor View Road. Our view is that in the final analysis, the plan mainly address the concerns of automobile drivers — not the broader needs of people living around this critically important road. Neighbors have consistently asked for safe options to walk, to ride bicycles and drive cars. A more equitable approach to all three modes of transportation can help this community stay connected and continue to allow residents to enjoy where they live, work — where they have chosen to spend their lives. Here are the changes that can make this plan work much better for everyone:

1. Crosswalks & Sidewalks: Crosswalks and sidewalks should link blocks east and
west, north and south. a/ They’re needed to safely get across Harborview, and not just across side streets as they intersect with Harborview. Lack of crosswalks on Harborview itself creates a barrier between the two sides of a neighborhood, the equivalent of building a wall that only cars can get around, and deterring people (especially children) from walking or riding bicycles. b/ Consistent with this goal, at the southern end of the Harborview, crosswalks should cross Harborview to link to the new sidewalk on Fort Johnson Road, a nice sidewalk just installed. c/ Sidewalks should extend to the bridge over James Island Creek. There are sidewalks on this existing bridge, but no safe way to walk to them.

2. North of James Island Creek: While we understand financial constraints, we must
point out that this stretch of Harborview also requires sidewalks and bike lanes. Getting people to the James Island Creek Bridge faster, but then not fixing the larger problem of no bike lanes or sidewalks is counterproductive. Cars will still be “bottlenecked” here, and people on bicycles will still have to ride in the roadway which does not allow vehicles to pass safely. This is not good for anyone. Give the bicycles a safe place to ride on the side of the road in a lane and the people that choose to drive will be able to continue on their way. Better for all.

3. Keep Bike Lanes on the Road: The 10' multi-use path is a nice idea, but in our
opinion does not measure up for either existing or projected needs or usage in this area. Here, too many side streets and too many driveway crossings spell increased danger for people using a multi-use path. Motorists tend to be alert for auto traffic on the road, not people on foot and on bicycles appearing before the roadway. This is the very reason that both MUTCD and AASHTO both suggest bicycle lanes in these circumstances — not multi-use paths. (Also, most cyclists will shun the multi-use path because its inherent dangers will slow them, and they’ll use the roadway anyway.)

The Bigger Picture: Continuous sidewalks, especially on the south side of Harborview where most stores and businesses are situated. Crosswalks installed consistently throughout the plan to promote ubiquitously safe pedestrian activity. Crosswalks would allow pedestrians free access to the sidewalk on the south side of the road which could be designed to meander through the great trees, allowing them to stand. (The new sidewalk on Fort Johnson is a nice example.) Bike lanes are merited on both sides of Harborview road, providing usable commuting linkage to points closer to Folly Road and to Fort Johnson Road. Dealing with Congestion: A single lane of traffic each direction will continue to handle the volume of traffic on this roadway 22+ hours of every day. However, we recognize that peak Harborview Road traffic (morning and evening) may require further adaptations. Not all the congestion is due to sheer volume. Some of it is due to school buses, some to cars making turns. In Mount Pleasant, planners have had great success with Mathis Ferry Road, where traffic circles keeping traffic flowing, but if traffic lights are needed, hopefully they can be set to flash most of the day when they are not needed. Adding left turn lanes in signalized locations should help flow during peak hours. But if center turn lanes are contemplated, keep them narrower. (11' is plenty wide for travel lanes, 12' is plenty wide for a center turn lane with cars. If trucks need to make a left at one of the 3 big intersections, a turn lane can handle that. The rest of the roadway can be kept intact, the beautiful James Island road so important to the character of this neighborhood. Conversely, the 66'-foot wide proposed road would undoubtedly make Harborview Road look like some of the uglier thoroughfares in Charleston County, spoiling its residential characteristics. Such a roadway would attract still more traffic, more problems, and negatively impact existing commerce, quality of life and property values. We strongly suggest that the Harborview Road project can and should be a great example of how to bring community together to produce a road that is human in scale, that protects the natural “feel” of the area even as it improves transportation patterns. Sincerely, (signed) Tom Bradford, Director (signed) Chris Tullmann, LEED AP, Vice Chair

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