Ashley River Crossing
Over the last 40 years, a bicycle-pedestrian crossing between West Ashley and Downtown Charleston has been and is currently part of every major planning effort at the neighborhood, city, county, and regional levels. The concept of the Ashley River Crossing was first introduced by City of Charleston planners in 1976. Since then, the City has undertaken extensive planning, design, engineering, and public financing efforts to prepare for project implementation.
The Ashley River Crossing is an innovative, multi-modal transportation initiative to enhance the connectivity between Downtown Charleston and West Ashley. The focal point of the project is a 0.4 mile stand-alone bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting the West Ashley Greenway to Brittlebank Park and the Ashley Riverwalk. Separated by the Ashley River, commuters are limited to automobile travel due to unsafe intersections, narrow sidewalks, incomplete streets, and an antiquated signal system. The lack of alternative transportation options is not only a threat to the safety of citizens, but also to the economic growth of the metro area.
FY 2019 BUILD Grant Application
In July 2019, the City of Charleston applied for The Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant. This federal grant program has awarded $7.1 billion to 554 projects in the last ten years. View the full application here.
In November 2019, the project was awarded the full requested amount of $18.1 million! A local match of $4.6 million for the project will come from the City of Charleston, Charleston County, and the Medical University of South Carolina.
A Two Phase Approach
The project will be completed in two phases. Phase 1 will enhance connectivity with improvements to the West Ashley Greenway / Bikeway and the Peninsula at key intersections:
Wappoo Road / West Ashley Greenway
Folly Road / Wesley Drive / Windermere Drive
Bee Street / Lockwood Drive
Phase 2 is construction of a stand-alone bridge, the Ashley River Crossing, a new 0.4 mile bicycle-pedestrian bridge connecting the West Ashley Greenway in West Ashley to Downtown Charleston at Lockwood Drive. For more information on connections to the West Ashley Greenway, view the West Ashley Greenway + Bikeway Master Plan from the Charleston Parks Conservancy.
More Than a Bridge
West Ashley comprises 45% of the City’s population and is known for its sense of community, reinforced through public spaces such as neighborhood parks and the popular farmers market. Public spaces with grand oaks and waterfront views contribute to the area’s identity and appeal to families and tourists alike.
The West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway are unique resources with the potential for safer access and connectivity to jobs, schools, and other amenities along the trails to further improve the quality of life for its ridership. The 8.5-mile West Ashley Greenway, a former railway abandoned in 1981, connects to a larger regional bike network, including the 2.5-mile West Ashley Bikeway. Also in connection to the West Ashley Greenway is the East Coast Greenway Route, a 3,000 mile urban trail that connects existing and planned shared-use trails to create a continuous route from Maine to Key West, Florida.
Over 4,500 West Ashley residents and 613 area businesses are located within .25 miles of the West Ashley Greenway, providing opportunity for recreational, community, and economic use. As the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway have become a true transportation corridor for West Ashley beyond simply a recreational facility, it is vital to close the gap that currently exists between the facilities.
The Ashley River Crossing is the anchor that ensures significant connections not just in the city of Charleston but the region.