When Tara Servatius first submitted her column against Charleston County Council’s decision to fund a bike lane over the Ashley River, I told her to expect a shit storm. She responded that she was being “tongue in cheek” and having “fun with the reader,” and I was cool with that. As anyone who reads my posts with any frequency knows, I like a good shit storm.
I also intended to respond to her article, much as I have from time to time to Jack Hunter’s columns or Jack did to Will Moredock’s or Will did to Jack’s. However, for your sake we here at the City Paper have tried to keep the clubhouse arguments to a minimum. The back-and-forth gets tiring fast, and the joys of watching a cat fight are fleeting.
While I disagreed with Tara’s sentiments overall — her seemingly inability to recognize the fact that the vast majority of bike fatalities are the result of careless drivers is particularly odious — I do believe that at least one issue in her article is worth discussing and that is the fact that far too many of Charleston’s streets simply do not allow for bikes and cars to coexist for us to have a truly thriving and safe biking community. (The remainder of Tara’s article is troll-baiting at its finest, or worse, depending on your point of view. If only more people were as passionate about closing the achievement gap in Charleston’s schools or stopping the onslaught of gentrification that is quickly displacing downtown’s African American population as they do about a piece of right-wing controversy porn. Sigh.)
As it stands, large portions of King, Calhoun, East Bay, and other streets simply do not provide the space necessary for bikes, cars, and parked vehicles to coexist safely. In most areas, there is not much we can do to widen the streets to make them more friendly to cyclists. However, there is one thing that we can do to make the peninsula’s streets safer: Remove on-street parking.
Yes, that means that we couldn’t park in front of Fish for their choose-your-own moo shu lunch. We couldn’t park down the street from A.C.’s for Sunday brunch. We couldn’t get to King bright and early on Saturday morning to secure a nice little spot a block away from the Farmers’ Market. Instead, we’d have to park in a parking garage, and make no mistake, there’d have to be a lot more of them, and none of them would be particularly pretty.
I don’t know about you, but I can live with that, especially if it’s going to help the Holy City become the bike-friendly spot that so many of us want it to be.