Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pedestrians in Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant Town Planners listen up! When you get to redesigning Highway 17, how about work in some sort of safe pedestrian and biking routes to the Arthur Ravenel Bridge as well as the bus stops.

We discovered Saturday that it's pretty easy to get into Mount Pleasant to go shopping (we took CARTA over to Whole Foods), however, once you're there, in the absence of an oil guzzler, the Town becomes an unfriendly, badly designed suburban nightmare. For those of you unfamiliar with Charleston, South Carolina - Mount Pleasant is separated from Downtown Charleston by the rather large, blackwater Cooper River. Getting to Whole Foods is no problem, though the Wendy's Restaurant may beg to differ, considering one must trample through their landscaping where the bus lets off. The Town could use a few sidewalks so pedestrians aren't forced to be so inconsiderate. Towne Center could have been a viable alternative, but EarthFare, the organic market in that location, closed down several months ago.

Fifty years of Urban sprawl fueled by cheap gas prices has lead to an un-walkable, overgrown, chigger-ridden, challenging and unsafe terrain totally lacking sidewalks of any kind. One's existentialism remains in keen focus with each whizzing SUV directed by a multi-tasking driver, cellphone in hand, dangerously unaware of a pedestrian's presence. We commend the Town of Mount Pleasant for its award-winning neighborhoods, like Ion, but once you step foot outside of those segregated enclaves, there is nothing linking many of these island-like neighborhoods together. We suggest they do something to allow their residents to move about with greater ease.

Sadly, we were forced to take our lives into our own hands as we ran across 4 lanes of Highway 17 to get to the stop back downtown. From Whole Foods the stop is located strategically on the opposite side of Highway 17. Unless, of course, you don't mind walking the equivalent of 10 blocks to get to the next stop on the same side of the highway. Only then is it unnecessary to run wildly across Highway 17. Yeah, we did feel pretty idiotic.

After risking our lives, we waited, but CARTA must have arrived a few minutes early. So, we missed the bus after our wonderful organic shopping experience. Fortunately, with Fall's fabulous temperatures, we were able to skip the bus altogether and walk back over the Arthur Ravenel Bridge toward home. Charleston certainly is known for it's beauty and grace. Especially from atop the bridge. It's breathtaking.

On another note, we've learned another blogger out there has been conducting her own experimental tests on public transportation. Check out Located in Austin, Texas, this busy Mom has a slew of funny stories chock full of public transportation insight. Go girl!

So, after all that, we may just leave our shopping for closer to home and stay downtown. But if you live in Mount Pleasant, what do you think of your ability to walk around the town? Would you walk more if you could? Would you like to have alternative modes of transportation readily available? Just wondering.


Bitsy Parker said...

So jealous you are having a fall! Texas is still 92 degrees with full humidity.

Harry Brinson & Stacey Barrington said...

Oh yes, we remember those days well. And 92 degrees will surely cause the bus to smell like a locker room before towel service pick-up. However, don't be overly jealous. Throughout fall and winter our weather is as volatile as the stock market has been this year. Cheers!