Future of West Ashley Greenway depends on your input

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The first step in the ‘Plan West Ashley’ is underway with plans to upgrade the West Ashley Greenway.

The greenway is the 10.5-mile trail that runs from Folly Road to Main Road in West Ashley.

Monday night was the first of three public input sessions where people who use the greenway have a chance to tell designers what you want the greenway to look like in the future. During Monday’s session, people could vote on every detail of possible additions to the trail and write down what you would like to see.

The options preselected ranged from the type of trash can that would be along the trail, the lighting, to the type of activity you would like to see, such as a playground.

"The potential the greenway and bikeway have to be a true community connector is enormous," Kate Zimmerman, the executive director of Charleston Moves, said. She is one of the people who uses it on a regular basis. She says she sold her car nearly a decade ago. For ten years, she's been putting her helmet on riding on the greenway.

"For whatever errands I have to run I'm usually on the greenway or the bikeway," she says.

With potential upgrades to the Greenway, designers say the sky is the limit.

When it comes to what people want to see more of, they have already spoken up.

"They're interested in making road crossings safer, they'd like more things to do on the greenway," Charleston Parks Conservancy Executive Director Harry Lessne said.

People were asked what could make them use the greenway and bikeway more.

Forty-six percent said they wanted safer crossings and connections. There's talk of making intersections safer and adding a pedestrian and bike lane over the Ashley River Bridge.

"Eventually when we have the new bike and pedestrian bridge over the Ashley River that should connect to the greenway as well," Zimmerman said.

So what we will see years down the road?

Designers say hopefully a trail that has restaurants along it that go through neighborhoods where homes actually face the greenway.

It will just take some time.

"We can't afford to do everything at one time so we'll do it in phases and each phase will require a funding plan," Lessne said.

Once that's done, maybe more people will be like Zimmermann and take off on two wheels instead of four.

Organizers hope to have the future greenway project plan complete by Labor Day so that they can then start looking at funding sources.

Monday's session was the first of three planned to give people the chance to say what they'd like to see. On Tuesday and Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., a drop in will be held at the Charleston Parks Conservancy's Studio Space, 720 Magnolia Rd. 

On Thursday at 6:30, the Work-in-Progress Presentation and Feedback Forum will be held at The Schoolhouse. 

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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