20 Years of Transportation Planning failure at a cost of 2.5 million dollars is too much for too long to get gridlock.
Last night, after Charleston County Finance Committee's meeting, our organization received alarmed communications from County Council members about new activity regarding the controversial I-526 project, which was not included in the original referendum road package. Councilwoman Collen Condon lamented, "Half cent sales tax is dead. 526 is now somehow funded with no additional funds. Nothing to trust. Nothing to promote. Colleen."
Several major local environmental and planning organizations, whose support is key to the referendum passing, have now indicated their endorsement of the referendum is in doubt.
We invite members of the Alternative Transportation community to call for an end to dysfunctional transportation governance in Charleston County by joining us at a demonstration on Tuesday, September 20th. from 5:30 to 6:15 pm in front of the Lonnie Hamilton County Services Building in North Charleston at 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston, SC. Following the demonstration Citizens are encourage to attend and speak at the Charleston County Council meeting where the pending transportation referendum, I-526 and the status of the bike lane on the Ashley River Bridge are expected to be reconsidered.
A Facebook signup for the demonstration can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/310866369286070/
After our plans for a demonstration were posted, Elliot Summey, Chairman of County Council responded, "Mrs. Condon is over reacting. I love her, but she's upset right now on where things stand with the negotiations with SIB over 526. Those negotiations are far from over. Nothing has been settled... I didn't get a chance to finish talking to her last night. No matter what happens, the 600 million for transit will stay in place and the BRT will be a reality. So, hopefully once she calms down, we will have an opportunity to talk further. I feel we are going to get this sales tax passed.... Stay the course. We are winning on this campaign and are close to having the money for a real transit system in the Lowcountry."
Lowcountry residents who desperately need improved transit have "stayed the course" for 20 years, as the government has spent over 2.5 million dollars on public transit planning, with just a rusting model monorail and a shelf full of dusty BCD COG studies to show for it. It now looks like we will also have a flawed referendum in November, placed on the ballot by elected officials who have been careless in drafting it, and do not possess the needed trust of the public.
Tuesday is the same night local politicians have threatened to reach for the switch on the on-again / off-again Ashley River Bridge bike lane, cancelling the project they promised to approve over a month ago. (The official agenda for next week's meeting will be released some time today, 9/16.) At Tuesday's meeting, proof may be offered that the only thing worse than getting a government decision wrong is dragging the public out to meetings over and over again, for years, until it becomes clear that public participation is nether valued nor desired. We'll stand in solidarity with the Cyclists.
We will be citizens. We will have better transportation. We will go somewhere together, either with this group of elected officials, or with the new officials we replace them with. Following this demonstration, we'll attend the County Council Meeting beginning at 6:30pm and speak during the public comment period.
For more information, contact Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, Inc. by calling (843) 870-5299 or checking our Transit Complete the Penny website atwww.pennyfortransit.org.
For detailed information and videos on Bus Rapid Transit systems like the one proposed for the Charleston Summerville line, please see http://pennyfortransit.weebly.com/videos.html