Friday, February 11, 2011

In Charleston, an Affordable, Effective Alternative to Highway Expansion

Roads like Charleston’s Savannah Highway are a common sight across America: a suburban arterial marked by high speeds, dangerous pedestrian crossings and depressing aesthetics. A five-lane strip of asphalt surrounded by used car dealerships and motels, it’s heavy on parking and curb cuts, light on crosswalks and trees. Like many streets of this type, Savannah Highway gets congested, particularly in a few key bottlenecks.
When congestion becomes a problem, the default response for many public officials is still the old-fashioned highway. 
Charleston's Savannah Highway is a mess, and it will still be a mess if the state DOT builds a $500 million highway bypass. To ease congestion on Savannah Highway, officials in Charleston have proposed an eight-mile, $489 million expansion of Interstate 526 through the towns of West Ashley, Johns Island and James Island. While less expensive, more effective options are available, the South Carolina Department of Transportation has rejected the idea that the best way to reduce congestion is to reduce car dependence. They prefer to build a traffic-generating new highway.

photo by taberandrew

 more about transportation in the U.S.:

Traditional Neighborhoods and Auto Ownership

NYC DOT Seeks Developer Feedback

The Maddening Wrongness of TTI’s Annual Urban Mobility Rankings

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