Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Help Mt. Pleasant Town Council Candidates become Transit Aware

We were deeply disturbed by the lack of basic understanding of local transit issues we observed at the Oct. 23 Candidates forum for Mt. Pleasant Town Council. We are acting now to bring the community into active involvement to motivate the candidates to become informed. We need your help to make this work.

Pathetic Mt. Pleasant Answers Cause Alarm

Audience at Forum, Oct. 23
Watch the pathetic answers offered to the sole Transit question presented at the forum, "Would they support getting the Bus Rapid Transit line to run no later than December 2023?"  You can hear and most of the forum video at, however the stream appears to have failed before Louise Brown successfully demanded they ask a Transit Question. Several questions are asked regarding traffic and climate change in which in over 15 minutes of discussion, Transit is never mentioned in the video we do have.  One candidate suggested the Town establish a bus service to take workers dontown to jobs at MUSC, an express bus service that has been running for 12 years, the #2 Express. Another suggested a circular shuttle route similar to the Mt. Pleasant local which was cancelled in Spring 2001 or the East Cooper Connector, which had overwhealming reliabilty problems and was cancelled about 2014 and once served the very Senior Citizens Center the forum was held at but never had a bench, shelter or safe walker and wheelchair accessable access from and two the building. Not one candidate mentioned Tel-A-Ride, our paratransit service used by the elderly at an event held for Senior Citizens that several of those in attendance used to reach the event. It was a horror show of clueless disinterest that disgusted Louise Brown. She share her thoughts with William Hamilton and the Staff at Joe Cunningham's, our congressman's office at our visit following the forum.

This lack of knowledge of transit is remarkable in a  town where one of our largest employers, Hubner supplies bus articulations to transit vehicle manufacturers around the world.

Image, Left- Developer Provided Bus Stop in Mount Pleasant.

Without improved transit, Mt. Pleasant will simply become impossible to travel around in as West Ashley and Summerville have already become for several periods of time each week. The only long term solution is high capacity BRT on segregated lanes linking dense, transit enabled hubs, supported by a strong last mile shuttle service and connecting service to the beach. They will either recognize this now, as the people on the town's master planning committee have or someone will figure it out some time after the afternoon the traffic stops moving for three hours.  Mistakes like the horrific location of the new Football Stadium only reenforce the autocentric values which will doom the town to failure. To do this as the town's population of elderly people who can't drive continues to increase is clueless and cruel.

A Plan to Go Forward

After what we saw today, the struggling Town of Lincolnville and little Ridgeville look a lot better. As busy as we are, we can't leave Mt. Pleasant where it is. Together, We Go Forward.

Call Them Now- We're asking our East Cooper Supporters, including those outside the Town of Mt. Pleasant who use the bus lines there to call the candidates with their concerns and ideas about transit. It was clear at the forum that most of these candidates believe our buses are empty and that you, do not, in fact. actually exist.  This web page lists their contact information, phone numbers and emails.

Guided Bus Ride Oct. 29- We're offering every candidate for Mt. Pleasant Town Council at guided bus ride beginning at Wando Crossing Shopping Center on Tuesday,  Oct. 29 at 7:15 am and returning to Mt. Pleasant on the #40, arriving back at Wando Crossing at 9:03. Candidates should bring bus fare of $3.50, exact change. We'll be calling into a talk radio station and live streaming from downtown during the ride. If a candidate wants to ride sooner, we're ready tomorrow. Just call (843) 870-5299.

Experts- We're offering these candidates access to our panel of independent transit experts. They can  also contact the Council of Governments, which has already spent 7 million dollars planning the rapid transit line over the past 25 years. Their I26 alt plan treats East Cooper Bus service extensively.

Updated Transit Materials and Questions were handed to all of the candidate's at today's forum. You can read our annotated questions for muncipal election candidates online. We'll be asking for answers to those questions at the Moultrie News Election Forum next week. We've sent a copy of the questions and Christian King's, candidate for Charleston City Council's answers to them to the Moultrie News which is preparing the questions for the forum.

Answers- We'll publish any written answers to our Transit questions or link to any answers posted online from our Blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds.

We'll attend next week's Moultrie News forum on Tuesday evening. It's not on a bus route and as a usual policy we would refuse to attend, but the problem here is so extreme, we're going to make an exception. We'll Uber to the forum from the #40 bus stop at Oakland Marketplace. We'll provide and RSVP signup and an opportunity to donate towards the cost.  We'll have "Transit Voter" stickers for all our supporters in attendance.

We'll be traveling out to the Forum on the #40 and #42 buses and returning home by Uber and the #40 bus (The bus out to the Wando Library stops running at 6:30. We depart Mary Street downtown at 4:30 and arrive at the forum location at 5:47. Signup up on eventbright online for paid bus tickets and Uber fees. We'll be wearing our yellow shirts, but if you don't have one, try for the shade of yellow on the tranist voter sticker above, close or just yellow will be fine.

A Proud History of Achievement now in Disarray, How Quickly a Community Can Forget Transit

Our organization began as Hungryneck Straphangers in Mt. Pleasant and the East Cooper area and made remarkable progress between 2009 and 2016 in that area. We increased transit ridership to 308% of its 2007 level. We persuaded the town to install benches at bus stops and inspired them to begin requiring developers to build bus stops as part of their development agreements like the one at right. We pioneered transit outreach in conservative Southern suburbs in ways national experts told us noone had every tried and achieved results we were told were impossible before we started. Our East Cooper effort, supported by Mayor Linda Page, laid the foundation for passage of the Half Penny Sales tax and funding of the first Rapid Transit system in the history of the state. The restoration of bus service in Columbia began with a hail Mary jump on the candidate at breakfast effort we executed at a political convention where the candidate for the Mayor of Columbia found himself surrounded by people in tranist union provided "Don't Cut Transit T-shirts."

We knew there was a real risk of losing ground on suburban and rural bus when we chose to concentrate on trying to force progress on the bus rapid transit line a year ago.  However, we recognized that without an actual rapid transit spine a system slowly strangled by rising traffic congestion was the likely outcome. That's why we're in Ridgville, Dorchester County and Summerville now. Ridgeville, you'll be happy to know is a $45 Uber ride from Mt. Pleasant but it was worth it. We met 3rd graders who know more and care more about transit and what it can do for their community at Clay Hill Elementary School up there (See image left) than some of the candidates at this forum. They were certainly more fun.

We believe if they are properly motivated by the need to earn votes from Mt. Pleasant Transit supporters that progress can be made. We appreciate your support.

If you have any questions or ideas please email or call: or (843) 870-5299.

Thank you for your help, together we go forward.

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