Tuesday, February 25, 2014

City Council takes up Ashley bike crossing, on-shore power tonight

Find your seat early for a big night in local politics

Posted by Paul Bowers on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Bikes, ships, and automobiles: City Council is all about transportation tonight. - MIKE LEDFORD FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Ledford file photo
  • Bikes, ships, and automobiles: City Council is all about transportation tonight.

Don't follow local politics? Tonight is a good night to start paying attention. Charleston City Council will discuss two of the Holy City's hottest hot-button topics: a bike route over the Ashley River and on-shore power for cruise ships. The meeting will start at 5 p.m. in City Hall (80 Broad St.).

Bicyclist advocacy groups, including Charleston Moves, have been agitating for years for a safe bike route across the Ashley River. With the James Island Connector closed to bike and pedestrian traffic, the only bike route onto the peninsula is currently a narrow raised sidewalk on the T. Allen Legare Bridge, one of the two one-way bridges connecting West Ashley and downtown.

A new resolution (see p. 27), which has the support of Traffic and Transportation Committee member Mike Seekings, would shut down the northbound outermost lane of the Legare Bridge and turn it into a bike-ped lane. The lane shutdown is described in the resolution as a "partial, interim solution" until the existing bridge is replaced or car traffic necessitates the lane's re-opening.

The project would be accomplished through a memorandum of understanding between the city, the county, and the S.C. Department of Transportation. Charleston County would foot the bill for the project. If you're interested in the topic, Traffic and Transportation will be discussing it at 3 p.m. in City Hall today.

Meanwhile, Councilman William Dudley Gregorie will introduce a resolution (see p. 26) in favor of on-shore power for cruise ships that dock in Charleston. Local neighborhood groups have been calling on the State Ports Authority to install power hookups so that cruise ships don't sit idling in the harbor, and tonight Gregorie will officially join the chorus with a resolution asking state lawmakers and the governor to legislate on-shore power.

The resolution frames shore power as "another step in making the air quality for the residents a primary concern" and compares it to the recent establishment of a smoke-free zone in the medical district.

Riled up? Get to tonight's City Council meeting early. It's gonna be a packed house.

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