Planners seek input on improving West Ashley Greenway, bikeway trails

West Ashley bike way ends at Highway 61 (WCIV)

Ditch the car for a bicycle: it's the dream for many in West Ashley.

The Charleston Parks Conservancy and experts are working on a master plan for the West Ashley Greenway and bikeway trails. They've enlisted the community to get the design just right.

Wade Walker is one of the lead engineers with Alta Planning and Design, the consulting firm working on the project.

They're tasked with figuring out how to connect the greenway and the bikeway, which are two separate trails.

"(If we're) able to tie those two together, we can really provide a system that is very connected and people can get from their neighborhood to different locations and they can get to school a lot easier, they can get to jobs," Walker said.

Walker said around 115 people showed up to Monday night's public forum and many had a lot of opinions, suggestions and insight into improvements. A lot of those ideas were penned and posted on what they call the "Wall of Ideas."

"Safety and lighting is something we heard a lot about last night," Walker said. "Also, is it wide enough? Should the trail itself, the road bed be a little wider?"

Walker said their team biked the entire course a few weeks ago and understands the cause for concern.

"The Folly Road/Wesley crossing on the greenway, out on the east end of the greenway at Saint Andrews comes up as one on the bikeway that everybody says is very hazardous and we can tell you first hand it's hair raising," he said.

Other points of feedback include better lighting for night time use, more water stations for people and pets, and more rest areas with ample shade.

"We did hear loud and clear that people want more of those on both the greenway and the bikeway and restrooms, of course," he said. "There are areas on both facilities that you do have some tree cover and tree canopy, but there's also places that you don't and it can get very hot in the summer."

Walker said this is just the very beginning of what will be a long planning process. More feedback forums are set for the rest of the week. The schedule is below:

Community Design Forum Open Studio

June 6 - 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (drop in anytime)

Charleston Parks Conservancy, Studio Space at 720 Magnolia Road, Suite 25, in West Ashley

Work-in-Progress Presentation and Feedback Forum

June 7 - 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Schoolhouse, Large Community Auditorium at 720 Magnolia Road in West Ashley

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