02

Blog

“New Mobility” in Charleston

Charleston Bicycle Accident Attorney Timmy Finch reports on the future.

On Monday night I went to listen to Gabe Klein present recommendations for the City of Charleston to help the city move forward with a “New Mobility.” Right away, Klein proclaimed that he is not so much a fan of proposals and studies as he is in “getting things done.”

Good. We need some of that in Charleston and many other places around the country—especially when it comes to the changing transportation needs of growing cities.

Some of the things that Klein proposed were simple and effective; inexpensive street dividers/signs that remind motorists to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks where walk signals do not exist. Where signals do exist Klein proposed pedestrian “lead times” for crosswalk signals designed to give pedestrians a “head start.” The lead times would also help to clear the intersections and keep automobile traffic rolling. Bicycle signals could also be added later.

Another idea to clear crowded intersections is a “Barnes Dance” crossing at designed to have pedestrians moving diagonally across the streets while vehicular traffic is stopped in all directions. All of these things are being done in other cities.  One would think that there would be little debate about adding them to Charleston’s existing infrastructure.

[Ed. Note: We have been begging the City for years to have an Barnes Dance intersection at Calhoun and St. Philip.]

Other ideas have been bandied around for years; the light rail system from the airport to downtown. Adding a trolley loop to move people throughout the peninsula. We used to have a trolley. Interestingly, we would be going back to the future if the city resurrected the rail.

It all goes to the same goal: Changing the kind of congestion in this historic city. The goal for the city is to have congestion, but the right kind of congestion. We want the streets full of people and the sidewalks, too. We want the economy to continue to grow and for all users to be able to enjoy the streets of Charleston.

Charleston is very unique. It still has old, narrow streets that will never be paved through with thoroughfares. The internal structure of the city has remained intact. What needs to change is the way people move in and out of the city’s heart—the peninsula.

Activity is the future of transportation. In peninsular Charleston there must be an alternative to driving or “the city will choke on its own fumes.”

One change is about to be rolled out: a bike share similar to others in the country.

Some wonder if just putting people on bikes will make the problem worse. Many are familiar with cyclists that blow through lights, ride “upstream” and generally flout traffic laws.

Klein says the answer is more people on bikes, though. He explained that with a growth in the number of cyclists and the rise of a bike share program, there is a natural peer pressure for people to obey laws.

The accord with the traffic laws that frustrated drivers say is lacking from cyclists can be fixed. The answer may seem like a reward to bad behavior for drivers, but better cyclist behavior will come from changing the infrastructure to accommodate cyclists through dedicated bike lanes. “People ride differently when they feel like they have their own space,” said Klein.

In a city like Charleston with its narrow streets and historic architecture the answer comes from a less is more approach. The roads need to go on diets. By eliminating lanes for cars, dedicating them for cyclists and converting former travel lanes to turn lanes where appropriate, the cars will actually move more freely—alongside cyclists.

It’s time for the changes to start happening, though. Let’s hope the City’s leaders are more interested in getting things done rather than just being satisfied with the studies and proposals.

Comments

Peter Wilborn Aug 20, 2019

A camera is necessary kit for every ride. But finding the right camera has been a challenge, until now. My rebuttable presumption: the Ricoh GR III is the best cycling camera of all time. Read on, and if you can prove there’s a better one, let me know. The Ideal Cycling Camera To find the […]

Read More
Human Shield Bike Lane
Bruce Hagen Jul 29, 2019

If you ride bikes around Atlanta, chances are that you know Niklas Vollmer and Andreas Wolfe.  They’re some of the many people in town who seem to live on their bikes and can be seen riding everywhere.  While they both have their “day jobs,” folks in the cycling world know them for their place in […]

Read More
Bruce Hagen Jul 19, 2019

This is a time when advocacy efforts are crucial to making our streets safer for everyone. Within 24 hours from the Two Wheel Tuesday gathering we suffered two more casualties.  On Wednesday morning, Marten Bijvank was on his way to work on his bicycle when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed DUI driver […]

Read More
AJ's Bicycle Shop in Iowa
Jim Freeman Jul 15, 2019

Bicycling Magazine recently published an article titled, “Hey, Bike Shops; Stop Treating Customers Like Garbage.”  The story follows a heavy-set 59 year old’s sad tale of how he was treated poorly from a number of local bike shops.   First and foremost, I would be clear that bikes are for almost everyone.  If you are big, […]

Read More
Bike accident scene
Rick Bernardi Jul 12, 2019

The big bike news out of the Oregon legislature this year was the passage of a Stop as Yield law. This was an enormous legislative victory for Oregon cyclists, the culmination of over a decade of advocacy. But it wasn’t the only legislative victory for Oregon cyclists this legislative session. A less glamorous but equally […]

Read More
Uber Biking Escort
Charlie Thomas Jul 11, 2019

I often find myself wanting to ride on a roadway corridor that doesn’t want me there. At best, I could make it across alive with some close calls and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. At worst, I wouldn’t be around to write this blog post.  Of course, a safer, alternate route […]

Read More
Cycling Without Age Bike Law
Brian Weiss Jul 11, 2019

The founder of the Lakewood Bicycle Advisory Team loves his life on two wheels. Gary Harty was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and raised in Colorado – Denver Metro area, and now makes bicycling in Lakewood, Colorado safe and fun.  Gary is part of the baby boomer generation. He attended Colorado State University (CSU) and […]

Read More
Rachael Maney Bike Law
Rachael Maney Jul 10, 2019

Outrage.  It is what drives action and engagement on the interwebs these days. If it’s not outrageous, it’s boring. The Election of 2018 proved that outrage increases TOS (“time on site”) more than friendship, sympathy, desire, or anything else.  Judgment. By definition it is necessary to reach any conclusion about anything. But passing it on […]

Read More
Stop as Yield for Cyclists
Rick Bernardi Jul 09, 2019

The Oregon Legislature made national news this past week, for all the wrong reasons. The State Senate, with a super-majority of Democrats in control, had been working on climate legislation which would have Oregon join a cap-and-trade market with California and Quebec. Unable to stop the legislation, Republican Senators fled the state en masse, preventing […]

Read More
Bike Law Alps
Charlie Thomas Jul 07, 2019

It’s Tour de France time. I follow the racing daily through the footage on TV feed and still photos. But I hadn’t ever considered what’s happening on the other side of the camera lens. Like, what actually goes into snapping these pictures that we see documenting the Tour’s happenings? I started to care more about […]

Read More
E Bike and insurance
Lauri Boxer-Macomber Jul 01, 2019

Prologue  Last month, I rode across the Casco Bay Bridge to talk e-bikes and insurance with Bob O’Brien, the Vice President of Noyes, Hall and Allen Insurance in South Portland, Maine.  Although I have yet to invest in an e-bike for myself, I have been captivated by e-bikes and their potential to get and keep […]

Read More
Brooke Nelson
Danny Feldman Jul 01, 2019

Brooke Nelson has been the ride director of the Cheaha Challenge (www.cheahachallange.com) since shortly after the 2014 ride and in the past 5 years, ride participation has increased 188%.  Since 2017 when it became the only UCI Qualifier, Alabama’s biggest ride has become known nationally and internationally.  The 2019 ride had participants from 31 states […]

Read More
Load More