The Low Battery
The portion of the Battery along Murray Boulevard from White Point Garden to the US Coast Guard Station is called the “Low Battery.” Along the Low Battery seawall, aging infrastructure and parked automobiles are highly visible along the waterfront, the wall and walkway are crumbling, and the Murray Boulevard streetscape is outdated and uncomfortable. The City of Charleston will undertake an extensive reconstruction project to replace and raise the seawall by 2.5 feet. This presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to a create signature public space worthy of Charleston’s character and history while also strengthening the city against regular flooding and imminent sea level rise. This site has the potential to become a linear park where residents and visitors can better experience the water’s edge.
Following a process of design development and public input led by the Design Division, the City will now move forward with preferred design scheme for the seawall, walkway and boulevard along the Low Battery. The preferred design option along the Residential Edge is to remove the on-street parking along the southern (waterfront) side of the street and continue the 2-hour residential parking district along the north side (allowing non-residents to park up to 2 hours at a time and use the Low Battery). The preferred design along the White Point Gardens Edge is to remove waterfront parking and the central median, consolidating open space along the southern (waterfront) side of the street in a linear green space. The Garden Edge solution is a compromise between Option #3 and Option #4, as shown below. The final design will also include a system additional temporary barricades that can be deployed when a storm approaches to provide extra protection against flooding.
Read the Report
The Design Division produces a report booklet for each of its main projects. The 20-page report for Low Battery can be found in the link below. It provides site observations, examples of urban waterfronts in other cities, an explanation of the seawall design problem, and four possible solutions.
Public Input Results
Over 1,350 people completed the online survey and our team spoke with hundreds of citizens and Low Battery users during the month of July. We set up a mobile workshop on the site, appeared at farmers markets, and hosted exhibits in the Charleston Civic Design Center. We also received individual letters and local media attention!
Parking for People
Parking of automobiles along the waterfront of Murray Boulevard is perhaps the most critical issue for the redesign of Low Battery. The removal of parking along the waterfront is necessary if the walkway is to be raised and the wall itself restored to a column and railing composition. This page explores this issue in greater detail.
What's the Design Problem?
The Design Division proposes to rethink the design of the overall public space. In doing so we’ve used stakeholder input and technical data to suggest four design alternatives for the Low Battery and Murray Boulevard as a complete site. The basic design problem is one of wall composition, walkway width and dedication of space to parked automobiles along the waterfront. (All solutions propose to improve Murray Boulevard with crosswalks, planting areas, seating and street trees.) Additional project background and other information can be found here.