West Ashley Commission disputes transportation issues

July 12 22:35 2017 Print This Article

Members of the West Ashley Revitalization Commission (WARC), including Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, had a vigorous debate on what role the Commission should take on transportation planning. Commissioner Morris Ellison made a motion to remove transportation as an element of the West Ashley Master Plan process. He suggested that transportation planning should be done on a regional rather than a local basis.

WARC Chairman Peter Shahid, a Charleston City Councilman representing West Ashley, wanted to rule Ellison’s motion out of order, citing the WARC charter ordinance and Charleston’s contractual agreement with consulting group Dover Kohl to do a transportation study. After discussion, Ellison agreed to table the motion until the Aug. 9 WARC meeting at The Schoolhouse on 720 Magnolia Rd. Mayor Tecklenburg asked Ellison to withdraw the motion, but he declined.

Ellison cited a lack of real-time analytical data available to indicate where and what time commuters are traveling. He referred to the research website http://MobilityInsights.net and the Jacksonville (FL) Command Center as examples of how technology can be used to address area transportation needs.

One of the core issues addressed at the meeting was the survey showing that 84% of West Ashley residents work outside the region, contributing to the heavy traffic congestion. Commissioner and Town and Country Inn owner Jimmy Palassis suggested that there are not enough businesses in West Ashley due to a lack of curb appeal. He said if the area becomes more attractive, more West Ashley residents will have an opportunity to work there. Commissioner Justin Ferira echoed those sentiments, indicating that better landscaping and signage would improve West Ashley’s image.

Other issues discussed at the meeting were greater connectivity between neighborhoods and shopping centers, better access to parks and playgrounds, and the need for crosswalks and timing signals at major intersections to make West Ashley more convenient for walkers and bicycle riders. Many WARC members discussed the need for more office space and job opportunities in the area.