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Spring, Cannon to be converted to two-way streets

The Post and Courier
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spring and Cannon streets will soon join the list of one-way Charleston streets converted to two-way traffic, City Council agreed Tuesday at the urging of neighborhood residents.

The action came at a meeting in which William Dudley Gregorie was sworn in, having won a special election for the District 6 seat.

“This journey is not complete, for in November I have to run again,” said Gregorie, who is filling the unexpired term of former Councilman Wendell Gilliard. The seat is up for election to a four-year term this fall.

Among Gregorie’s first votes was the Spring and Cannon streets conversion to two-way traffic, which he and other council members supported. The city, at the urging of neighborhood associations, has been converting some streets to two-way in order to slow the traffic in mostly residential areas.

“Spring and Cannon are the spine of our neighborhood and run the extent of our neighborhood,” said Claire Xidis, speaking for the Cannonborough/Elliotborough Neighborhood Association. “They are treated like highways, but there are residences and businesses on those streets.”

Xidis said 86 percent of those at an association meeting supported the conversion, and about 200 people signed a petition calling for the change.

“This did not happen overnight, and the neighborhood really, really needs to see this happen,” said Councilman James Lewis.

Sections of King, Wentworth and Beaufain streets were previously switched to two-way traffic, along with parts of Rutledge and Ashley avenues. After Spring and Cannon streets, Coming Street could follow.

Councilwoman Yvonne Evans said the earlier two-way conversions have “been working beautifully.”

The city expects to put the street work out for bid after some final revisions to the plan, which involves street beautification and changes to parking, signage, and street markings. The city spent about $77,000 converting a section of Rutledge Avenue to two-way traffic.

In other business, the council gave final approval to changes in the city’s sidewalk dining regulations aimed at increasing the number of eateries putting tables on city sidewalks wide enough to allow the practice.

The changes eliminate a fee of up to $9 per square foot for using the sidewalk, eliminate a security deposit, and extend operating hours until midnight, or the closing time for the business, whichever is earlier.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552 or dslade@postandcourier.com.

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