Group makes last plea to save trees on Harbor View Rd.

By Stefanie

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) - Harbor View Road on James Island has been in the spotlight since 2008. The expansion of the 2.1 mile stretch of road has been a hot button issue in the community with strong positions for and against the development.

On January 17, 2013, Charleston County Council approved a modified design named the 'Proposed Alternative.' On Monday night, the public is invited to see the final plan for the road. The renderings will be revealed to the public for the first time.

Charleston County officials say the purpose of the project is to improve traffic flow and safety on Harbor View Road and to provide adequate bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

"Are 100 percent going to be satisfied? No way, you are never going to get a 100 percent buy-in, but if we can satisfy the majority of the people and make the roads safe for our folks going back and forth that is what we are here for --{}public safety," said Chairman of Charleston County Council, Teddie Pryor.

At Monday's meeting, the public is welcome to submit comments in writing on the Proposed Alternative plan. The public can submit their written comments until May 15 when the official public comment period will end.

"We will look at the comments and see what they said, but this has already been done already," Pryor said. "It's been voted on and now we will just give them an opportunity to see what we voted on and what is coming next."

According to Charleston County Roadwise, the main features of the Harbor View Rd.{}plan include:

A roundabout at the intersection of Fort Johnson Road

Traffic Signals at the intersection of Fort Sumter Drive and Mikell Drive

Crosswalks will be striped across Harbor View Road at locations recommend by the public, subject to SCDOT approval

A reduction in the speed limit from 40 mph to 35 mph

Gary Milliken, co-founder of 'Save Harbor View Road' coalition, said the county's{}proposed alternative plan made some positive changes to the initial road{}design, but not enough.

"What we are asking for here in this final hour is perhaps two feet off the center lane width,"{}Harbor View Rd.{}resident, Gary Milliken said.{}"And we would like to see the continuation of the bike lanes all the way to the Connector from the North Shore."

"If all these things go in and we can maintain the 35 mph speed limit, if people could have access to the Connector, our neighborhood's integrity will be more or less preserved."

Milliken says his greatest fear with the road project{}is that the character of the neighborhood will change from residential to commercial. A major campaign point for the 'Save Harbor View Road' group is preserving the environmental aspects of the area -- especially the trees.

"We saved a number of trees just by having the project reduced six feet. It's hard to say how many we saved but sadly we are going to be losing six grand trees and over 100 trees and shrubs that we couldn't save," Milliken said. "Those trees could be saved if we minimize the length of the center lane."

The final public comment meeting on the Harbor View Rd. project will be held Monday night at Stiles Point Elementary School on James Island from 7 to 9 p.m.