City councilman Seekings addresses growth, transportation, flooding issues

Daniel Islanders heard from a familiar voice last week at the Daniel Island Community Speaker’s Series held at the Daniel Island Club. Charleston City Council’s District 8 representative Mike Seekings, who will soon be the second councilperson to represent Daniel Island, spoke candidly about issues facing the city.
The series is sponsored by the Daniel Island Rotary, the Daniel Island Business Association, the Daniel Island Club and the Daniel Island Community Fund.
Seekings has served on council since 2013. He is a full-time lawyer, local art aficionado and a fellow Rotarian at a downtown club. Seekings is the chairman of the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority, chair of the city council Traffic and Transportation Committee and is on the board of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Gibbes Museum of Art and the Cooper River Bridge Run. 
After redistricting goes into effect later in 2023, Seekings’ district will include a portion of Daniel Island south of the Wando River Bridge. He will share representation of the island with District 1 Councilman Boyd Gregg.
Seekings spoke in detail about Daniel Island’s growth over the years, what the future of transportation will look like in the Lowcountry, and flooding solutions. 
Seekings highlighted the following data. The island is home to 17,500 residents (based on the 2020 Census). Charleston is ranked the largest city in South Carolina with 150,000 residents and receives approximately 8 million visitors per year and nearly 22,000 visitors per day. This is three times the national average. 
“We are naturally migratory people and Charleston is an attractive place,” Seekings added. “We need to manage growth. We are not going to stop it.”  
As the influx of new homeowners continues to expand Charleston’s population, Seekings spoke of a solution to help curb the congestion of new motorists on the roadways – a large-scale transit project called the Lowcountry Rapid Transit.
He explained: LCRT, a program of Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, is being designed as a 21.3-mile modern bus rapid transit system that will serve as the state’s first mass transit system since downtown’s trolley system which dates back to the 1920s. LCRT aims to provide safe, reliable and low-cost connections between Ladson, North Charleston and downtown. 
Daniel Island is not a stop on the route in the current configuration due to the lack of demand for public transportation, but the effects of the public ridership are expected to mitigate the traffic flow surrounding the island, Seekings said.
According to Seekings, in 2016, Charleston County voters approved a Transportation Sales Tax Referendum that included $180 million for LCRT construction and an additional $70 million for operations. LCRT recently received FTA approval to enter the New Starts Engineering Phase of the FTA Capital Investment Grants Program, he added.
The maximum Federal contribution to LCRT is now set at approximately $375 million, which is 60% of the current project cost, Seekings explained. He added that the local project funding match is committed from the Charleston County half-cent sales tax. LCRT is slated to begin construction in 2026 and be fully operational by 2028, according to the website.   
For more information on the transit project, visit 
Another topic Seekings highlighted, and which poses a daily threat to Charleston’s quality of life, is flooding. Seekings spoke at great length on the Army Corps of Engineers’ 3X3 Project. 
He said the project refers to a $1.1 billion investment in an 8-mile long wall around the majority of Charleston’s peninsula that could range as tall as 10 feet in some sections with as many as 86 storm gates. The Army Corps of Engineers has been studying the city’s perimeter protection against storm surge, tidal inundation and sea level rise since 2018.
According to Seekings, since 1980, Charleston has experienced more than 700 high tides of 5.5 feet or higher. In 2019 alone, Charleston recorded 79 high tides.
He also explained the project funding: 35% from local, state, county and private funding that would equate to $385 million. The remaining 65% would be funded federally. The construction would proceed in phases and the city would make its payments in installments over the multiyear life of the project.
The project’s Advisory Committee is composed of a dozen members of the residential, business, and nonprofit communities, plus two council members. Seekings is one of them and a self-proclaimed critic of the project.
“We’ve got some challenges in this city when it comes to water, but building a wall around is probably not the answer,” Seekings added.
Seekings said that he would like to explore other drainage improvement options like the Calhoun West/Beaufain drainage project that aims to increase the capacity of the stormwater collection as well as provide means to convey stormwater directly into the Ashley River during storms and tidal events via pumping systems.
Seekings added that the single-purpose concrete wall is “counterintuitive” to the city’s stormwater management system developed through the Dutch Dialogues, adding it would be an eyesore, an easy target for graffiti, and a tough sell to residents in districts outside of the peninsula.    
For more information on the proposed seawall, visit Citizen comments can be emailed directly to

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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