CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Plans for Charleston's first designated bike lanes -- to run along the riverfront from Patrick Street to Magic Island -- got favorable reviews at a public meeting Monday evening.
No one spoke out against the plan to carve out twin 4-foot-wide lanes from the river side of Kanawha Boulevard, although some in the modest audience had questions about project details.
All four lanes of traffic will be maintained, said Dave Clevenger of TRC Engineering Services and Mark Shawl of GAI Consultants, who the city hired to design the bike lanes.
But traffic that often exceeds the 40 miles per hour limit could be slowed down, they said. In fact, that's part of the plan, Shawl said.
"People don't need to go 45 down the road," he said. "I know people do. We are trying to make it a more pedestrian friendly road."
They propose several ways to do that -- bump-outs, a landscaped green space between the road and the bike lanes, and narrower traffic lanes.
The existing traffic lanes, which range up to 14 feet wide in places, will be trimmed to 11 feet and, in a pair of "pinch points," 10.5 feet. "Eleven feet is sufficient," Shawl said. "Truck traffic is prohibited on the Boulevard."
The consultants propose to remove the tall curb beside the Boulevard walkway and build the bike lanes beside the walkway. They propose a 4-foot-wide green space on the other side, beside the roadway, and would move existing street lamps into the green space. From Florida Street to Patrick Street the green space will be extra wide -- 11 feet -- with low-growing trees in addition to evergreen bushes.
At five intersections -- Vine Street, Park Drive, Lovell Drive, Fitzgerald Street and Hunt Avenue -- they would bump out the sidewalks slightly from the north side into the Boulevard, making it easier for folks to cross the street.