By Savannah Brennan for The Island Eye News
May is Mobility Month. Formerly known as Bike Month, Charleston Moves dedicates May to promoting streets that are complete for everyone, designed to enable safe access for all users.
CM believes in the transformative power of allowing the community to choose among many safe ways to travel. When we’re able to ride a bike, walk or use public transit, it means equitable opportunities and better access to affordable food and housing, as well as job security, for citizens. It means an improved local economy. It means opportunities for civic engagement. It means cleaner air and water, climate change mitigation, improved public health, and reduced traffic congestion.
This year’s Mobility Month events range from all-ages celebratory rides to advocacy rides, a lecture series and a guided neighborhood walking tour.
The Ride of Silence and Bike to Work Day advocacy rides will highlight and amplify the community’s pleas for safe, connected facilities over the Ashley River for those on foot and bikes. For a region defined by our unique waterways, it is our bridges that have been keeping us separated. Fatalities and injuries on our streets are preventable, and Charleston Moves is committed to seeing safe access for all users over our Ashley River crossings.
For the first time, Ride of Silence will be a police-escorted ride over the North Bridge, an Ashley River crossing that links North Charleston and West Ashley. The ride will show community support for a North Bridge retrofit to allow safe access for all users; it is in memory of a community member who was killed while riding his bike over the North Bridge in the summer of 2018.
Bike to Work Day will be a police-escorted morning and evening bike commute over the Legare and Memorial Bridges, in support of the proposal to build a new bicycle and pedestrian bridge from the West Ashley Greenway to downtown.
Alongside these recurring advocacy rides, CM is excited to introduce a new 3-part lecture series on the past, present and future of transportation in our region. This series engages insightful community leaders, including Ms. Dot Scott of the Charleston Branch NAACP, Ms. Melissa Maddox-Evans of the City of Charleston’s Housing Authority, Mr. Vince Graham of Loci, Ms. Erin Stevens of Surculus, as well as Mr. Nic Butler of Charleston County Public Library and the Lowcountry Rapid Transit project team.
CM will also celebrate its Battery2Beach (B2B) progress with a Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms ride. B2B is Charleston Moves’ proposed route network, aimed at providing approximately 32 miles of mixed-use paths, while connecting five municipalities and three beaches. It is intended for both commuter and recreational use, residents and visitors alike. CM works together with the municipalities to prioritize installation of this route, and are proud of their completion of major segments.
CM also has three unique communitybased events planned in May: Neighborhood Story Stroll, Johns Island Farm Ride, and Preservation Pedal. The Neighborhood Story Stroll will be a guided walk focused on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial District of the Cannonborough/Elliotborough neighborhood. Guides and neighborhood leaders will discuss the roots and transformation, as well as unique architecture and walkability, of the area.
Johns Island Farm Ride will highlight some of the sea island’s active local farm-totable players, demonstrating the importance of agri-business and preserving our rural areas, and the need for improved mobility options. Specialty samplings at each farm and a police-escort are included in the ticket price.
Preservation Pedal, a collaboration with Preservation Society of Charleston, is a selfguided bike tour throughout Charleston’s five historic cemetery sites located in the upper peninsula. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the important history of these properties and the influential people buried in them. Riders will be joined by members of the Charleston Cemeteries Historic District, many of whom have family interred at these sites, who will answer questions and educate participants. This rare access and experience, in addition to a tasty pint around the corner at Fatty’s Beer Works, are included in the ticket price.
Throughout May, CM is also collaborating with Charleston Pedicab, Charleston Rickshaw Company and Palmetto Brewing Company. By supporting these fantastic local businesses, you support Charleston Moves! Don’t feel like walking, riding your bike or taking the bus for every trip? That’s okay, hop on a pedicab or rickshaw to get where you need to go, and a portion of your fare is donated to yours truly. Also, a portion from every pint of Palmetto’s Small Batch Red IPA that you enjoy at their taproom also benefits CM.
Charleston Moves is an advocate for safety through connected bicycle, pedestrian and transit infrastructure. We’re committed to pushing for your right to move freely and safely, knowing mobility options benefit all. Please join us in celebration of this vision! Visit CharlestonMoves.org/Mobility-Month for details and to find our schedule of events. Mobility Month 2019 has been generously sponsored and/or supported by the following businesses and organizations: MUSC, ULI South Carolina, The Bend, Bike Law, The Peper Law Firm, PA, Thomas & Hutton, Basic Kitchen, Leon’s, Charles Towne Fermentory, CSA Real Estate, Wild Common, Cannon Green, Baker & Brewer, Tradesman Brewing Company, Charleston Pedicab, Charleston Rickshaw Company, Palmetto Brewing Company, LowGo, BCDCOG, Counter Culture Coffee, Three Little Birds Cafe & Catering, Earth Fare, Fatty’s Beer Works, Lowcountry Food Bank.