The Mount Pleasant Town Council should take advantage of the upgrade of a sewer line to lay down a bike and pedestrian path, a councilman and the chairman of the town’s water supply committee argues.
Contractors, working on behalf of Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW), are starting to upgrade a sewer line alongside Highway 17N as part of the town’s capital improvement plan. Under a town ordinance, the contractors must replace any trees uprooted during the work along the 1.75-mile route.
But Councilman Mark Smith believes this is an opportunity to add to the town’s bike and pedestrian network, connecting the Market at Oakland shopping plaza to Mount Pleasant’s center.
In an open letter to constituents, Smith urged them to contact Mayor Linda Page and other council members to support the bike and pedestrian path.
Smith, who as chairman of the council’s Water Supply Committee is also a member of the MPW commission, sent the letter out ahead of the last committee meeting.
“I am not saying I am confident, but I do hope that the council carefully considers this opportunity to enhance and improve the quality of life for the residents,” Smith told Palmetto Business Daily. Laying a path along the route will connect all the bike and pedestrian paths in the town, Smith said.
The MPW supports the laying of the path, but did not receive enough votes at a full council meeting last year to proceed with its plan. It did receive some relief on tree mitigation after arguing the expense of replacing all plants and trees over 3 inches would prove prohibitive.
But the council voted to leave the final decisions on tree mitigation, and whether a bike/pedestrian path should be laid along any or all of the route, to town staff members. That is unfair to the staff, argues Smith, particularly in what the councilman described as politically charged times.
“If the water supply committee and the planning committee were to give staff approval...to include a pedestrian/bike path, that would give staff a clear direction,” Smith said.
Smith said no additional funds would be needed as those set aside for tree mitigation would be used to lay the path. He also said this plan would make it easier to access and service the pipes.
“Why put trees on top of the new sewer lines that will make it more difficult for MPW to service in the future and run the risk of possibly having roots grow around and possibly into the new sewer lines?” Smith wrote in his letter to constituents.
His vision is for a pedestrian/bike path to connect the town from one end to the other and beyond in the longer term as sections begin to connect.
Smith wants a path to extend from the Carolina Park, Dunes West and Park West Recreation Park areas to the planned park and recreation land off Billy Swails Boulevard. Ultimately, he sees connections all the way to the beaches on Sullivans Island and Isle of Palms, and to downtown Charleston.