New bike lanes are coming to busy St. Andrews Boulevard in early 2011, providing another route for West Ashley cyclists and adding a piece to the puzzle expected to eventually send a bike and pedestrian trail across the Ashley River.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley announced the bike lane plans on Tuesday morning after the Charleston Transportation Committee voted Monday to approve $100,000 toward the project. The 1.5 miles of bike access will run from Wesley Drive to the West Ashley Bikeway, just north of Sycamore Avenue.

The changes will include a 5 foot bike lane on each side of the wide road and better lines to denote existing parking on the route. Those two factors are expected to improve safety by calming busy traffic in the commuting corridor.

No one is trying to oversell Tuesday’s announcement, but it’s an incremental piece expanding bike access, says Tom Bradford, acting director of Charleston Moves, a nonprofit advocating alternative transportation,

“It’s more dots being connected,” he says. “Anytime a bike lane goes in — no matter how short or incomplete — it’s a good thing.”

The end goal for Riley is a safe route across the Ashley River for both cyclists and pedestrians.

“We’re not going to rest until that’s done,” he says.

State Department of Transportation board member Ken Willingham said the project is an example of the DOT’s growing understanding that transportation solutions includes accommodating more than just cars and trucks.

“This is a great example of having an opportunity and making the best of it — making it happen,” he says.

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