The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) received unanimous board approval for enhancements to Route 32 aimed at bridging the gap for cyclists and pedestrians seeking to cross the North Bridge.
The new initiative will begin October 3rd, 2021, and will provide free transportation between bus stops on either side of the bridge for both cyclists and pedestrians. In addition, the policy change will allow bicycles on the bus from one side of the bridge to the other for free. In the event that bicycle racks are full, this change allows bicycles to be brought on board the bus in-between stops.
“CARTA is committed to connecting the region by providing safe and reliable transportation to anyone who needs it,” said CARTA Board of Directors Chairman Mike Seekings. “This new offering will help bridge the safety gap that currently exists so that everyone, regardless of socioeconomic ability will be able to safely cross the North Bridge.”
As part of the effort, the service frequency for Route 32 will be doubled, cutting wait times in half. The enhanced service will begin on October 3rd, 2021, to align with the new accommodations for cyclists and pedestrians, and will occur every half-hour Monday through Saturday, and every hour on Sunday.
Route 32 provides hourly connections between North Charleston and West Ashley via North Bridge, with major stops being the North Charleston Superstop, Ashley Landing Mall, and Citadel Mall. Currently, North Bridge has no pedestrian or cycling amenities.
Data from the South Carolina Department of Transportation from 2014-2017 identified nine pedestrian/bicycle – motor vehicle collisions on the bridge. A further three pedestrian/bicycle – motor vehicle fatalities have occurred since 2018.
“Increasing the frequency of Route 32 and allowing bikes on the 32 bus as needed are important and appreciated steps toward a better, more accessible North Bridge crossing for all,” said Charleston Moves Executive Director Katie Zimmerman. “These improvements will offer more safe crossing opportunities to work, appointments, and visiting family.”
Efforts are underway to bring about needed structural changes to the bridge via the Better North Bridge project. The project is a collaborative effort between Charleston County, Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, and Charleston Moves with the goal to bring about a permanent, standalone bike and pedestrian crossing to provide a safe and equitable connection between North Charleston and West Ashley. The project is currently in the study phase.
Full route details and bus tracking will be available in the Transit App, which can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play. Riders can also view traffic conditions and municipal information for all area beaches via the Beach Reach app, also available for Apple and Google.
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