It’s been almost four months since Berkeley County hosted an information session to gather community feedback on a proposed plan to add a roundabout to the intersection of Seven Farms Drive and Daniel Island Drive.
By all accounts the gathering appeared to be a success; residents asked questions, elected officials spoke to constituents, engineers presented schematics, and meeting attendees submitted written comments about the proposal. After the meeting, citizens emailed in their concerns, joining those at the meeting in putting forth suggestions and asking questions. But the answers they anticipated have not yet come, according to Daniel Island resident and business manager Greg Turner, who also serves on the Daniel Island Community Association Board. Turner, who has been a vocal opponent of the roundabout, said more than two dozen citizens contacted him after reaching out to the county about the proposed intersection changes.
“Twenty-nine people have said we sent it in and never received an answer,” stated Turner. “…It’s been kind of like a cone of silence.”
While there has been no public community update on the project since the October 25 meeting, last week Berkeley County Public Information Officer Hannah Moseley responded to an inquiry from the Daniel Island News requesting information on the roundabout’s status.
“Berkeley County and its design team reviewed all comments carefully and considered each to improve the roundabout design,” stated Moseley. “The concerns were heard and engineers believe the roundabout is the appropriate solution to improve the area, with pedestrian and vehicular safety as a priority to the project. Every citizen comment was reviewed and considered.”
“Additionally, the County and the design team’s plans to install solar pedestrian flashers will further improve pedestrian safety at the intersection,” she continued.
But it was not clear how much of an impact community feedback had on the actual design of the roundabout, as Moseley added that the design itself has not been altered and that public comments did not offset the project schedule.
According to Moseley, the public information meeting Berkeley County hosted last fall was attended by 54 people, 15 of whom submitted written comments. An additional 17 comments were emailed to the County during the three-week comment period that ended on November 14, 2016.
Of the 15 written comments submitted at the meeting, nine were in favor of the roundabout, two were against it and four were neutral. Pedestrian safety, bike lane width and speed entering the roundabout were the top concerns recorded from comments submitted at the meeting.
Of the 17 emailed comments, eight were against the roundabout, eight were in favor, and one was neither for nor against. The top concerns emailed to the County after the meeting included pedestrian safety, the signalization of the intersection and the location of the cross walks. On that point, most wanted them located farther away from the intersection.
At this point, the roundabout appears to be on schedule, according to a Berkeley County webpage set up on the project (see below), with a likely ground-breaking for construction set to take place during the spring of 2018, and an anticipated completion that summer. For more information on the Daniel Island Drive and Seven Farms Drive Intersection Project see the project website at berkeleycountysc.gov/drupal/engineering/onecent/daniel-island-drive-seven-farms-road.