Azalea Drive Road Diet Study
From: [Your Name]
We request that Charleston County consider funding a road diet study for Azalea Drive in North Charleston, from Leeds Avenue to Cosgrove Avenue.
Charleston Moves has been advocating for a safe North Bridge crossing, and as part of that, have been looking at North Charleston connections. A 2008 (with 2011 addendum) Charleston County study concluded that the best way to solve the North Bridge crossing was a separate multi-use path on the West Ashley side, CARTA signage, and a separate bike/ped bridge to North Charleston. The bridge was not designed at the time, but thanks to County Council and staff, concepts are being developed now. Improving the Azalea corridor, especially the intersection of Cosgrove, is very important.
We conducted a bike/ped count at the intersection of Azalea and Cosgrove during February and March 2021, also identifying the movement patterns of people walking or biking through the area. Because of the constant turning movements and speed of cars, with lack of space for vulnerable road users in a hostile environment, we learned that most people do not walk or bike through the intersection itself, but instead cross at other locations where their line of sight is improved. Despite those obstacles, the area has a high rate of pedestrian usage.
This intersection and segment of Azalea from Leeds to Cosgrove are in dire need of safety improvements, and connect to a popular corner grocery, an elementary school, several churches, greenspace and neighborhoods. It also leads to the Lowcountry Food Bank and has several bus stops. However, we need the road diet study to determine what room could be made for safety improvements.
This study is time-sensitive, as the section of Azalea from Bonds to Leeds is on the South Carolina Department of Transportation’s (SCDOT) resurfacing consideration list for next year. It would be helpful to time the results of the road diet study before resurfacing to determine what results from the road diet study can be leveraged for inclusion. SCDOT has confirmed they can do any potential restriping plans in-house.
Some intersection and crossing improvements have been funded via the transportation sales tax (TST), and a sidewalk improvement is about to go out for bid on the eastern side of the Azalea/Cosgrove intersection, but in order to leverage further work, there needs to be a road diet for the western side.
The road diet study would likely need to include identification of existing traffic volumes along Azalea and Cosgrove, as well as projected future traffic volumes, including potential development using tools such as CHATS travel demand model. The study should also recognize the City of North Charleston’s vision for the Azalea Trail, phase I of which is along this segment of Azalea Drive. This vision is for a multi-use path within the utility easement along this corridor, and it would be helpful to see how the future path could affect traffic volumes and potential restriping needs and plans.