Connect residents and visitors with employment, shopping, educational institutions and activity centers through safe and efficient multi-modal regional transportation systems
The mobility of residents and those who are employed in the City has a substantial impact on the quality of life within North Charleston. Those routes and/or corridors designed to accommodate higher volumes of flow and multiple modes (or options) for transportation along them are principal components of the City’s mobility. The City’s position within the region creates the need for these corridors to serve both regional “pass-through” traffic and local trips. The City is in the center of the Charleston Area Transportation Study (CHATS) planning area. CHATS initiatives facilitate regional efforts to address congestion and safety concerns along these routes. Likewise, there is opportunity for collaboration to address deficiencies in facilities by investing in transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
Projects in the CHATS 2040 Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) range from improvements to increase capacity along major corridors such as Dorchester Road to intersection improvements that address “hot spots” of congestion and accidents. As depicted on pages 102 and 103 of Prime North Charleston’s Appendix 1, one-third of the projects in the CHATS LRTP’s prioritized list for future federal funding are located within the City of North Charleston. As shown on the following page, over $3 billion in transportation projects are currently being developed, including the Lowcountry Rapid Transit system proposed for construction along University Boulevard and Rivers Avenue.
Collaboration between the City, CHATS, Charleston and Dorchester Counties and SCDOT is critical to ensure the design of these transportation projects includes facilities that support use by multiple users. Construction of new bicycle and pedestrian facilities, identified in the regional WalkBike BCD plan or those to address safety issues should be integrated within these projects as well. Likewise, the city should continue efforts to seek improvements, such as overpasses, that reduce the interruption of mobility by the numerous rail crossings that exist to support the city and regional economy.
Mobility for a city undergoing growth is dependent on a system of transportation options. Trails, sidewalks and pedestrian paths are crucial elements that provide connections to transit and roads ensuring accessibility for residents to parks, schools, shops and services. Making these facilities available within neighborhoods and across the City may be challenging, however it is not impossible and needed for the City to be livable and sustainable. Collaboration among agencies and departments in the implementation of improvements can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of principal corridors, as well as the use of alternative modes of transportation such as transit. The myriad of improvements needed to ensure the mobility of pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses, and freight, along with the funding needed to make the improvements, can be best achieved by coordinated efforts among all parties.
Patterns of land uses have a direct impact on the level of capacity, safety and connectivity benefits that are realized from prioritized improvements. Establishing zoning districts and design standards that support a variety of land uses and intensities within close proximity to one another, particularly along major corridors, can create opportunities for residents and employees looking to connect with transit and non-motorized modes of transport. Improved access to varied land uses, in conjunction with shorter local trip/travel options to work/life/shopping/entertainment can promote healthier lifestyles. The synergistic benefit of these mixed-use land use patterns is less impervious surface, such as parking lots, resulting in reduced stormwater runoff while retaining natural spaces that contribute to the quality of life within the City.