Transportation woes linger in the Holy City

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Getting from point A to point B in Charleston is not as easy as it used to be.

Transportation is a crucial part of everyone’s lives. But in Charleston, transportation has a threefold importance often overlooked. It plays a major role in not only the financial development of the city but also in its social and cultural development as well.

Unfortunately, Charleston and its narrow downtown peninsula were not designed for massive trucks and a yearly population influx of 10,000 people. City officials have been trying to manage the design process of effective transportation for nearly 400 years.

The city is also one of the few left in the United States that still considers the importance of horse-drawn carriages when designing traffic routes on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis.

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Increased pedestrian traffic, lack of parking and major traffic congestion are just skimming the top of the list. The dynamics of students, part-time construction workers, and the 9-5 businessmen and women of downtown rush the narrow peninsula daily.

Thanks to countless one-way streets and turn-lane time constraints, the ebb and flow of traffic gets so much worse during rush hours, I try to only walk during these hectic times.

Parking garages are an eye sore, and it’s impossible to block cars from of the peninsula entirely (obviously).

But there has to be a solution to the traffic. Nearly 300 years ago, the people of Charleston figured the large city blocks were too big for convenience, so they took to cutting narrow streets like Chalmers through the larger blocks to fix this.

Charleston officials should look into installing more bike lanes as well as pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and walkways to encourage other modes of transportation. The free trolleys and bus services are also modes to keep cars from flooding Charleston’s streets.

Merely complaining about current issues won’t bring about any kind of solution. So maybe it is up to us to address concerns the same way Charlestonians did in the 17th century by “cutting” the bike lanes and sidewalks we need?

It worked 400 years ago.

by Melissa Pearce

 

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