Saturday, February 20, 2021

Summerville, Lincolnville, Ladson Transit Update Feb. 2021

 Summerville to the Sea on Transit- Feb. 2021

Louise Brown and the Mayor of Summerville
Sun, Feb. 21- Join us at the Black History Celebration on Hutchison Square in Summerville on Feb. 21 starting at 2 pm. Come learn about local Transit Equity Heros Mary Bowers and Esau Jenkins, make a button and join our new Dorchester Unit to make sure Transit runs all the way to the Atlantic from Flowertown. 

Image, Right, this month we honor Best Friends Staff Member Louise Brown, (shown here with the former Mayor of Summerville) who has been working for transit equity and social justice in the Lowcountry for over 50 years, starting with the Hospital Strike of 1969 when she and 11 other African American women stopped tanks in the streets of Charleston with their bodies and singing voices. She rode the train between Summerville and Charleston for decades, sometimes hopping a freight to make the trip as a girl. We call Louise the Mother of the Movement. You can view a photo gallery of her advocacy work

Thanks to the effort of our new Dorchester Unit, working with the rest of Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, better transit is coming to Summerville, Lincolnville and Ladson. However there are challenges we must address now as the effort to undermine the long promised rapid transit service to Summerville has been abandoned with the tacit agreement of local officials.

Good News: Buses to the Beach, Electric Buses, More Shelters, Improved Service and Complete Streets

Thanks to your support, CARTA will restore weekend bus service to the Isle of Palms this summer. It will be possible to ride on LINK and CARTA all the way to the Beach on Fridays. Saturday and Sunday will require traveling to a #10 Rivers Ave. Bus Stop on Highway 78 near the Hospital since Link does not operate on the weekend. Service begins Memorial Weekend. We'll be helping Summerville access this new opportunity. Here is a preview of our plans, which are attracting national interest. 

Proterra Electric Bus made in SC
CARTA is electrifying it's bus fleet, starting with ProTerra buses made right here in South Carolina. More shelters are being constructed in Charleston county, most with solar lighting and soon, electronic bus arrival data. Full real time data on bus arrival times is now available for the region, with trip planning on Google Maps and the Transit App, as well as a dedicated app for Tri County Link. GPS data is transmitted from the buses and combined with Google's massive archive of travel and road data to give you accurate arrival times for your bus. CARTA bus service on James Island is having it's frequency doubled. View a video primer on how to plan your bus trips online with Google. 

Thanks to decisions made ten years ago in response to the SARs epidemic in Asia, our newer Transit vehicles were pandemic ready with improved air circulation systems, surfaces engineered to isolate biohazards and non touch doors. Locally produced hand sanitizer and masks (required) are available for free on board. Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit worked with a nationwide advocacy effort to get emergency federal Covid funding to pay for making buses ready for the pandemic and keeping service operating when ridership fell. Ridership is now increasing again.

Rep. Marvin Pendarvis
After two years, the SC DOT finally adopted a complete streets policy requiring road safer for pedestrians, transit riders and cyclists thanks to the effort of State Rep. Marvin Pendavis, who represents the Summerville east of the railroad tracks, Lincolnville and Ladson. Pendarvis is looking for citizens willing to sit on the new advisory board called for in the policy. Please contact Marvin Pendavis if you would like to serve. You can learn more about the new complete streets policy. 

The Challenge for Dorchester

Original plan for BRT service to Summerville
Summerville must fight for it's transit connection to Ladson, N. Charleston, Charleston and the Beach.
For 25 years very possible option was explored. Best Friends was instrumental in getting an improved weekday Tri County Link Service connecting downtown Summerville to CARTA in N. Charleston in 2019. In 2015, the half million dollar I26 Alt Study promised bus rapid transit connecting downtown Summerville to downtown Charleston in 59 minutes. Voters in Ladson and Lincolnville, and Charleston County approved a half penny sales tax in Nov. 2016 to fund 250 million dollars to build that bus rapid transit system and 350 million dollars to improve bus service.

Summerville's Leaders stood by while the Council of Government facilitated secret meetings at which it was decided to end the new transit system at the Fairgrounds in Ladson instead of making the long promised connection to Summerville and Lincolnville. While most Dorchester leaders claim to support a complete system, it's likely some worked behind the scenes to truncate the system to preserve the status quo from which they benefit. They like a Summerville where many people are immobile and time trapped in the car eats up more of everyone's life. Tired people and people who can't move are easy to ignore.

Our Logo
A major infrastructure and recovery bill is now being developed by the President and Congress. This may include the federal matching funds needed to build a real rapid transit system like what voters were promised from Summerville to Charleston and a seven day connection all the way to the sea. Our lives are too precious to be wasted sitting in traffic and hauling children and relatives around because we don't have buses that work.

To get involved for better Transit in Dorchester, Summerville, Lincolnville and Ladson contact Linda Saylor at or (843) 873-2436. 

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