Councilman Ron Brinson – District 4 Updates May 31, 2015
The Fort Dorchester Residential Association will hold a public forum on traffic in and about the Dorchester Road, Patriot Boulevard, Palmetto Commerce Parkway and Ladson Road corridors, Monday, 6 p.m., June 15, 2015, at Wescott Park community center. Mayor Keith Summey, S.C. Senator Sean Bennett and S.C. Representative Chris Murphy and others have been invited to discuss the community’s growing concerns about worsening traffic conditions. (Unfortunately, I have a long standing public service commitment in Canada on that date and I will not be able to attend.)
What’s the most frequent complaints I receive as a city councilman?
No surprise – most “complaints” are expressed frustration and upset over traffic issues. The growth of population and industrial and commercial units have steadily increased vehicle counts on all arterial roads.
And it’s going to get worse.
Congestion is constant during certain “rush” hour cycles – and especially during the school year. Congestion adds travel times to schools and jobs, and those who must endure these snarls notice the life-style effects of spending more time behind the wheel – and more time wondering why it has to be this way.
Every Monday, I work through a check list of communications with the S.C. Department of Transportation about such things as traffic light synchronizations at many Dorchester Road and Ashley Phosphate Road intersections. I often enlist S.C. Rep. Chris Murphy and Senator Sean Bennett to help amplify the requests for assistance. They always respond positively.
The SCDOT is under-funded and seems to operate with a triage of complaints system. Its work seems ponderous and slow, but in talking to the SCDOT team, it does seem they are doing their best. Our state’s secretary of transportation said publicly three years ago that he was managing the state’s roads system “into its decline.”
Mayor Summey and I have been openly and strongly urging state legislators to reform the state’s archaic road funding system and begin equipping our state –and especially our North Charleston communities– with roads and bridges needed to accommodate growth – roads and bridges that match our achievements and ambitions to continue to expand the global manufacturing sector.
Legislation is now being debated in the final days of the current General Assembly session that would bring some relief.
In the meanwhile…..SCDOT is working to refine the synchronization of lights on Dorchester Road and Ashley Phosphate. Charleston County is designing additional turning lanes capacities at Patriot Boulevard and Palmetto Commerce Parkway. Charleston County will soon begin the long-delayed project to add an additional lane for Eastbound Interstate 26 traffic turning from Ashley Phosphate. Dorchester County last Thursday officially opened the 1.1 mile “Wallace Ackerman Drive” which links Ladson Road to Old Fort Drive and Parlor Road. The city is urging Dorchester County Council to launch an effort to renew the “one cent” sales tax to fund a new schedule of much needed road projects, including the planned widening of Patriot, from Wescott Boulevard to PCP, and the planned widening of Wescott Boulevard. The city and county are cost-sharing projects to repave the intersection of Patriot and Ashley Phosphate, and Club Course, from Dorchester to Patriot. These projects are contracted to be completed by mid-August. The Future Drive project should open in August, linking PCP to the Northside Boulevard connection which links Ashley Phosphate to Highway 78, running parallel to Interstate 26. Planning continues for a “flyover” that will lift Palmetto Commerce Parkway over Ashley Phosphate and onto to new lanes leading into the main Boeing campus. This planning package also includes a new interchange with Interstate 26 at Future Drive.
So there’s a lot going on. But not enough – and not fast enough. We need long term solutions and the dialogue that inspires legislative action must begin.
City Council has approved our city’s 2016 Fiscal Year budget. Revenues will match expenditures at $110.5 million. That’s a 4.6 per cent increase. There are no tax increases.
North Charleston’s new Public Works campus will open next month at Remount Road at Interstate 26. This modern ad spacious facility, strategically located near the center of the city’s (76 square miles) boundaries, will replace the 40-year-old cramped operation on Aragon Street. It should lead to both service improvements and cost savings.
Property at Rivers Avenue and Mall Drive will soon be developed as a Medical University of South Carolina outpatient pediatric surgery center. City Council authorized the property purchase and its ultimate donation for the MUSC project. This will be a threshold of development and rehabilitation in a section of our city in need of just that.
The aquatics center project in partnership with the Dorchester District 2 school board continues to be discussed. The focus now is on how best to structure an interagency agreement that will govern the construction and long-term operations of the complex now envisioned at properties the city and the school district own at Patriot Boulevard and Appian Way.
City Hall is an art gallery just now. Stop by for a tour or arts and crafts featuring some outstanding work in a variety of mediums by local artists. Also, check the city’s website for information about summer arts camps for children of all ages http://www.northcharleston.org/Residents/Arts-and-Culture/Workshops,-Classes,-and-Camps/Summer-Arts-Camps.aspx
The Rockin’ the River concert series begins June 4 and will continue the first Thursdays of each month from June to September – at Riverfront Park. These are free outdoor concerts featuring some pretty good bands – such as The TAMS who will entertain at the June 4 6:30 p.m. concert. Have a look at the appended “flyer” and make plans to attend.
City’s Updated Web Site – Check out www.northcharleston.org for constantly updated information on city activities of all types and to submit requests for services.
And……Please share this little newsletter with your neighbors and if they’d like to be included on the distribution list, they need only contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org