A solution to traffic and pedestrian concerns at the intersection of Pier View Street and Seven Farms Drive may soon be on the way.
The City of Charleston contracted local engineering consultant Bihl Engineering to perform a traffic study of the intersection beginning in the second week of September.
The number of vehicles that pass through the intersection at Pier View Street and Seven Farms Drive will be recorded in the traffic study, according to the city’s Traffic & Transportation department. In 2018, a city study conducted at a different portion of Seven Farms Drive adjacent to Bishop England High School recorded 8,090 vehicles in 24 hours.
The Pier View intersection is currently marked with white pedestrian crossing marks as well as lit with flashing lights. Pedestrian crossing signs also alert drivers to the intersection. Those improvements were made in the fall of 2010 as the result of citizen action spearheaded by Harmon Feig, a then resident in the Pier View condominium complex.
Around that same time, Feig said he asked city officials to reduce the speed limit in the area from 35 mph to 25 mph. The city complied with the request.
Fast-forward 10 years later and increased foot and car traffic make left hand turns difficult and pedestrian crossing perilous.
Traffic rules require cars to stop on Seven Farms Drive and Pier View Streets when someone is in the cross walk. Whether due to lack of knowledge of the traffic rules, difficulty in seeing, or inattention, drivers frequently do not stop and yield to pedestrians.
“No car acknowledges a person standing there in the crosswalk pretty much until they are in the middle of the street,” said Jon Turner, co-founder and co-owner of Blondies Bagels & Cafe.
Turner based his observations from firsthand experience of crossing the road to his popular breakfast shop. He also noted, “It’s not the kids. I don’t blame it on the kids,” Turner added. “I see way too many adults still driving and texting and just not paying attention.”
“I’ve tossed like every idea imaginable out there,” said Marie Delcioppo, City of Charleston councilwoman for District 1 and former president and safety chair of the Daniel Island Neighborhood Association.
As for future safety changes, Delcioppo noted several possibilities: instead of the crosswalk lights flashing around the clock they could be push-activated, visibility could be increased by taking away a parking space or two, a raised median or sidewalk could be installed. However, she said that she has not heard or participated in conversation in regards to adding a traffic signal to the intersection.
Delcioppo opined that it’s difficult to see someone waiting to cross and that the flashing pedestrian lights are too high. However, she did indicate that the electrical configuration is more cumbersome compared to other areas of the island.
Future solutions will be weighed from both a safety standpoint and from a cost-benefit analysis, Delcioppo stated.
“It’s always been this quiet, little neighborhood and we’re not anymore,” Delcioppo added. “Daniel Island is more populated than some cities and towns.”
The fine for a motorist not yielding to a pedestrian is $155 and 4 points on one’s driver’s license, according to Lt. Matthew Wojslawowicz, commander of Team 5 for the City of Charleston Police Department.