Sunday, May 6, 2018

Getting Charleston Ready for ConChaCo, Five Days, Five Events, One Party

Charleston, SC- ConChaCo is a new transit focused festival on Saturday, May 12 in Charleston, SC which links five great community events, The Farmer’s Market, Awakening Motion, The Greek Festival, the new ConChaCo Pub Crawl & Restaurant Hop to benefit the city’s struggling Food and Beverage workers and the Night Market with the free #20 Upper King St. / Meeting St. bus line and the internet.

Information about ConChaCo and the effort to build better transit for the Lowcountry has now been consolidated on a new blogsite-

For the week leading up to #ConChaCo we'll issue five media statements focusing on the elements of this community transit focused effort to end a culture of low expectations for transit. These often controversial statements will be a candid assessment of what Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit has learned in the 10 month effort to put this event together from the hundreds of people who are now involved who range from homeless people sleeping in their cars to millionaires.

#ConChaCo evolved from a simple Bar Crawl held on a streetcar line in San Francisco California and is informed by experiences with 30 years of community activism and festivals here in the Lowcountry. We do not believe anything like this has been done elsewhere before. We cannot explain all the people in Charleston who assure us it was great last year when it’s never been held before. We’ve had a hard time explaining the event to transit advocates elsewhere, but holding a huge party seems like a perfectly obvious way to get something important done to people in Charleston. No one questions the logic of inviting 15 thousand people to a three-mile-long party to improve public transit in Charleston, but we suspect that’s because Charleston happily accepts any excuse for a party.

The statements we’ll be releasing each morning will also be linked to a 6 to 6:30 event that day. We’ll be available for interviews at other times as well.  The week is structure around Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit's Motto: Together We Go Forward!

Five Days, Six Preparatory Events

Monday, May 7- Together, What shared goals have brought the Conchaco effort together? That evening we’ll be holding a Transit Town Hall in Summerville with State Representative Marvin Pendarvis and the communities on the North end of the promised Bus Rapid Transit line in Ladson, Lincolnville and Summerville will get special attention.  The Town Hall will include activities for children and adults and informal discussion with community leaders will be from 6 to 7 pm. A formal presentation and Town Hall meeting about public transit will follow with from 7 to 8:30 pm. The Town Hall will be held at the Cuthbert Community Center, 105 W 5th South Street Azalea Park, Summerville, South Carolina. The event is free and open to the public.  Facebook event listing on the Marvin Pendarvis Transit Town Hall.

Tuesday, May 8 - We, Who is involved and how have them come together, National, Local and Neighborhood partners. We’ll be devoting that afternoon to ConChaCo outreach efforts West of the Ashely to encourage people living there to reach the city that day on the Savannah Highway, Folly Road and St. Andrews CARTA buses.

Wednesday, May 9- Go, What sort of movement do we plan to achieve beginning with Conchaco and through to the end of this year? Where are we going? Hard fights and decisions lay ahead such as will the Bus Rapid Transit line run beside the new Low Line Park on the old railroad line into Charleston or will our 340 million dollar investment in transit end up bogged down in Charleston gridlock on Meeting Street, fighting cars for space on the roads?  Can we still get buses to our beaches this summer. Will the proposed reorganization of CARTA next year bring democracy, efficiency and accountability to our struggling transit system. Can we improve the lives of workers downtown in our medical, hospitality and Food and Beverage industries?  We’ll focus on the role of Charleston’s faith communities (many of them holding Wednesday night prayer services where they’ll be encouraging members to ride for ConChaCo) with a visit to Mother Emanuel Church on Calhoun Street and the Mary Bowers Transit stop on Marion Square.

Thursday, May 10- Forward, What must progress look like, why we can't wait for better transit in Charleston any longer. What has held us back and what is it going to take to push through it, beginning with the next CARTA Board meeting on May 16 at 1 pm.  We’ll meet at the Line Street terminal location planned for the Bus Rapid Transit Line and then make a quick tour on foot of the four nearby Pubs and Restaurants participating in our first ConChaCo Crawl to benefit F&B workers.

Friday, May 11- Conchaco, hints on how to enjoy the event, how to win a free Greek chicken dinner, become an artist, bike Charleston for a year for $5, Liberate yourself from the misery of parking garages and traffic. Executive Director of Americans for Transit,  Sigute Meilus, will greet the press and offer a presentation on Contemporary Public Transit advocacy on Friday, May 11 at 10:00 am in the Auditorium of the Charleston County Main Library at  68 Calhoun St, Charleston, SC 29401.

Friday Evening- ConChaCo Kickoff Party- It's still a party, so lets get reach to have a good time, stay mobile, park the car, let go of the steering wheel and grab back our city from gridlock and congestion. We’ll finish a busy day of preparation with the ConChaCo Kickoff party from 6:45 to 9:45 pm at the Greek Festival. Join us as we travel up to the festival from Charleston City Hall on the #20 bus starting at 6:15 pm.Saturday is ConChaCo. Park your car. Let go of the Steering Wheel. Grab your city. CARTA has promisd to send all the buses we can fill. Lets show each other what a transit enabled Holy City could be like and hold a three mile long party!

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Contact Best Friends of Lowcountry Tranist, Inc. (501c3) about #conchaco, William Hamilton (843) 870-5299 or (843) 577-5231 or

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