Why is development so important

Lady’s island is a beautiful 13,000-acre island. There is no reason why it should grow like a group of disconnected sprawling neighborhoods that residents leave for school or work. It can be a connected community where residents can live, work and play without needing to spend as much time in their cars or travel as many miles each day for daily errands. In turn by using land more wisely, this type of land use and transportation design will help Lady’s Island preserve the reason why most have moved here anyway: the natural beauty.

 
 
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Lady’s Island Traffic Study

Development returning to Lady’s Island has prompted a review of our roads and infrastructure. (Read more about the tree ordinance and other land use policies, like the Beaufort Code, here.)

Highway 21 and Sams Point Road act as a bottleneck for residents on-and-off Lady’s island as daily trips to work, school and grocery stores occur. Traffic is not unbearable or unique to Lady’s Island but how the City and County respond can influence the future of the 13,000-acre island for the next generation.

Can road design alleviate traffic? Can improved road design improve safety, and access for bicyclists and pedestrians? Can road design connect places on Lady’s island for all users and encourage mixed-use neighborhoods to keep some automobile traffic out of the intersection bottleneck?   Yes.

Rapid and sprawling auto-dependent development along Highway 21 has led to traffic congestion and demand for new and widened roads and bridges. Across other communities, these road improvements have typically opened the door for more development rather than relieving traffic congestion (Savannah Highway, West Ashley; Highway 278, Bluffton). Very limited public transportation facilities are available, but residents are largely dependent on autos. We must resist the urge to widen our streets or intersections: travel lanes are already 6 lanes across at the intersection of Highway 21 and Sams Point Road, could you walk across that during the time allowed by the crosswalk light? No, we must do better.

  • Superior zoning codes can elevate the quality of development, rather than perpetuate drive throughs and more automobile dependent development.
  • Street design that connects streets and creates parallel roadways can also connect places and give drivers more choices.

By reconnecting existing surface streets, drivers can avoid choke points on congested streets that are meant to be used as throughways. These connected secondary streets give drivers traveling locally opportunities to get off the main roads. This enables commuters to more easily travel throughout the region. Parallel streets also encourage access to businesses and residents on more sides, eliminating blank building facades, creating more pedestrian access and creating more vibrant places.