CofC hopes to put the brakes on two-way lane changes

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The College of Charleston hopes to put the brakes on new downtown traffic changes.

Charleston's city council voted Tuesday night to convert two major one-way downtown streets into two-way routes. Coming Street will change into a two-way street from the Crosstown all the way to Beaufain Street, and St. Philip Street will also become a two-way route from Calhoun to Beaufain.

Meredith Jenkinson, who works on Coming Street, said she's seen it all at one of the busiest intersections at Coming and Calhoun Streets, right in the middle of the College of Charleston.

"This is a busy intersection, and most people coming through it, cars and pedestrians alike, are very busy. So, they are in a hurry. They are not necessarily paying attention to what they should be," Jenkinson said.

But the wheels are turning, and things will be changing very soon for traffic in the college area. The city gave{}the green light to{}both two-way{}lane conversions.

"Our number one concern is safety for our students," said College of Charleston spokesman, Mike Robertson. "Several times everyday we have thousands of students walking down these roads, changing classes and we feel two-way traffic on both of these streets will really be dangerous for our students."

Robertson said the college would like to see things stay the way they are.

"It's the volume of students on these two streets that is our main concern. There is a lot of spill off to the road just because of the shear volume of the students here. That's our concern," he said.

The officials with the City of Charleston think it's a move in the right direction.

"It's to improve the quality of life for those neighborhoods, to calm the traffic, and to keep it at a reasonable pace that it wont create significant congestion," said Hernan Pena, director of traffic and transportation for the City of Charleston.

"A two-way traffic, a two-way street, is really safer than a one-way," Pena said. "...Most people in most cities are used to looking both ways, and that's something we think is important for the college."

Officials with the city say the two-lane conversion will start sometime in 2013.