Following an almost four-month search, Katie Zimmerman has been named the new executive director of local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group Charleston Moves. Formerly with the Coastal Conservation League, Zimmerman fills the position vacated by Kurt Cavanaugh, who had served as the director of Charleston Moves since 2014.

Cavanaugh stepped down from his role with Charleston Moves last fall before relocating to New York and becoming deputy director of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership.
In addition to her work with the Coastal Conservation League, Zimmerman has also worked with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center, as well as various research and outreach projects to promote environmental justice and water quality in the Charleston area.

In her new role as director of Charleston Moves, Zimmerman plans to look to the large sector of the Charleston area’s population who want to bike or walk for certain trips and either cannot because the infrastructure is lacking, or are unsure as to how to start.

“When I look at our citizenry, there are the people who will ride or walk consistently no matter what the circumstances,” says Zimmerman. “There are people who will refuse to do so and prefer only being in a car, but then there’s that large segment of people in the middle of who want to get out of their cars for more of their trips and simply are unsure. We need to bring those people into the fold.”

According to Zimmerman, the group’s priorities will be the bridges that connect different sections of the city, yet fail to accommodate those not behind the wheel of a car. In addition to continuing Charleston Moves’ long-running effort to establish a dedicated bike lane on the Legare Bridge connecting West Ashley and the peninsula, Zimmerman believes additional accommodations can be made for riders on the James Island Connector and the Wappoo Cut.

“The bottom line for me is that biking and walking is not alternative transportation — it is transportation. Our region must invest in it as we continue to increase in population and popularity,” says Zimmerman. “Not only do we need multiple facets of transportation options for proper mobility, but we also need them for an equitable community. People who cannot afford a car are still paying for roadways that they cannot use, since nearly all types of taxation ultimately go to roadway investment. It’s time we branch out our options for both efficiency and equity.”

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