The bike lanes -- the city's first dedicated bicycle paths -- may not get built this year as Molgaard had hoped.
"There has been some delay," he said. "I'll know more after I meet with the engineers next month. They are right now looking at the mapping data we provided, and soils data."
Another short-term goal is to mark off Virginia and Quarrier streets as share-the-road bike routes using painted "sharrows" -- something bike enthusiasts with the Charleston Land Trust have been pushing for about two years.
"The sharrows I'm sure can be done quickly, possibly even before this fall." Molgaard said. "As soon as the plan is adopted I'm sure that will be taken up by those interested."
The planners considered striping off dedicated bike lanes on Quarrier and Virginia, but decided it was too dangerous because people in parked cars could open their doors into the path of speeding bikes. Such "dooring" accidents are common in other cities.
These measures won't please everybody, Gossman said. "Sharrows will probably not make Mrs. Smith and her 8-year-old daughter feel safe.
"Washington and Lee streets -- they're primary routes. That may be where you make long-term investment for bike lanes."
To help pedestrians, the planners suggest widening the sidewalks at key intersections with curb bumps, or creating mini-roundabouts by building landscaped islands in the middle of the intersections. Both devices also help to calm traffic by forcing drivers to slow down.
Such measures tend to be expensive, however.
"I know the plan calls for complete streets, with bike lanes and narrower streets," Molgaard said. "Any change to the hardscape may need to sit in the wings as we look at what sorts of grants are available.
"It's always nice to have a plan and dollar estimates available when grants come up," he said. "That's what happened with Haddad Park; Sen. Byrd called up with a federal earmark. I know those are a thing of the past, but who knows what the future holds. This comprehensive plan and downtown redevelopment plan gives us a roadmap."
The city can't wait for federal funds, Strawn said.
"It seems the city finds a way to fund projects [it wants] -- bonding capacity for the Civic Center, backed by a sales tax and a TIF [tax increment financing] district.
"But that's very narrow," he said, "a citywide tax for one project.
"But for walking, biking and green spaces, how do you pay for them? Do you have a tax for them? Do you put it out for a vote or do you let City Council pass something?
"It's easy to put things out there [in a plan] but, at the end of the day, how do you make things happen? I'm encouraged by the process but I just hope it goes farther."
Copies of the downtown redevelopment and comprehensive plans can be found online at imaginecharleston.com -- click on the Exhibits tab. You can phone or email comments to Dan Vriendt, the city planning director, at 304-348-8105 or dan.vrie...@cityofcharleston.org.Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.