Mount Pleasant Magazine Jan/Feb 2021

25 | | T he appeal of Mount Pleasant from a biker or walker’s perspective is obvious: temperate weather, meandering marshes, sprawling live oaks and an abundance of native wildlife. While the beginnings of Mount Pleasant Way were officially incorporated into the town’s comprehensive plan in 2018, it’s safe to say the concept was on the minds of staff and residents alike for many years. James Aton, Operations Division Chief for the town of Mount Pleasant, is also the project manager for this legacy proposal. He explained that the process of connecting all of Mount Pleasant — from Waterfront Park to the Ten Mile Community – through a linear park consisting of 20 miles of continuous bike paths starts with the development of a spine or designated route. This route adjoins secondary and tertiary paths that run through neighborhoods, schools, recreational facilities, public parks and so on, facilitating educational, historical and cultural opportunities. “Think of the spine as Highway 17 for those users, connecting to other infrastructure pieces,” he said. The optimal pathway design is eight to 12 feet wide and constructed mainly of asphalt to accommodate two- way traffic for mostly non-motorized users — although scooters, skateboards and Segways are being considered. The path width and materials will vary, Aton pointed out, to account for such things as proximity to historical trees, drainage requirements, wetlands or heavily trafficked areas. While there is a cost expectation of roughly $20 or $30 million dollars, Aton put the cost in perspective, explaining, “A typical road widening falls in this range.” But he also made it clear that the process for selecting the right consulting team highlighted the importance of pursuing funding and lightening the load for the town. “We wanted an organization looking at federal and state grants, public-private partnerships like the Kenny Mile and funding through concurrent road- widening projects like Highway 41.” BY PAMELA JOUAN A Way Forward Mount Pleasant Way Will Offer Safe, Equitable Transportation Mount Pleasant Way Map Courtesy of the Mount Pleasant Way Master Plan. Conceptual crossing enhancements for the roundabout at Mathis Ferry Road and Shelmore Boulevard. Courtesy of the Mount Pleasant Way Master Plan.