Charleston City Paper on becoming more bicycle friendly

Interesting piece from the Charleston City Paper that might have some logical extensions to Savannah: Nine ways to make Charleston a bicycle-friendly city.

There’s considerable emphasis in the piece on the success of the wide bike lane for the Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge, and there’s an interesting list of suggestions from “Portland, Ore.-based bicycling and infrastructure guru Mia Birk”, including:

3. Look into bicycle boulevards. You’d be hard-pressed to fit a bike lane on every one of downtown Charleston’s narrow, antiquated streets, so one solution could be to focus on just a few major bike throughfares. Birk suggested closing down a lane of King Street, where traffic already moves slowly, and putting in a two-way bike lane. This could be a tough political sell, but headway could be made by promoting the idea to King Street businesses as a way to drive more traffic into their stores. After all, you’re more likely to stop and check out that cute dress in the window if you don’t have to spend 15 minutes searching for a parking spot.

4. Highlight the bargains. As road projects go, bike lanes are a steal. The Ravenel Bridge, for instance, cost $677 million to build, of which Wonders Way represented only $15 million. In Portland, which now has 314 miles of bikeways and 18 percent of residents using a bike as a primary or secondary vehicle, state government only allots 0.7 percent of its annual budget to bicycle projects. That amount of money would buy you about a mile of urban freeway per year, she said.

There is much more in the piece. Highly recommended reading.