History of Battery2Beach

It all began one fateful morning in 2005 when Charleston Moves teamed with local government officials to dedicate the new Arthur J. Ravenel Bridge on the Mount Pleasant side. The excitement began by commemorating the importance of connecting pathways, enhanced by the new bike and pedestrian route on the bridge, called “Wonder’s Way”. The path is an important milestone for Charleston Moves and local citizens; and the bridge itself an important piece of the history of our route, as it is the physical connection from the Charleston battery to area beaches.

This is what Charleston Moves Director, Tom Bradford, and Mount Pleasant Councilman Paul Gawrych observed from the top of the bridge on the morning of its dedication when they decided to ride Wonder’s Way for the first time. They saw an incredible scene spanning from Isle of Palms to Folly Beach (the same view that many recreational bridge users enjoy today). But they also saw opportunity.

At that moment, Paul coined the phrase “Battery to Beach” by suggesting that local citizens and tourists should be able to have easily accessible pathways for alternative travel. They should be able, he said, to get from the Battery to the beaches on foot or bike if they choose. With Charleston’s temperate climate and scenic views, it seemed like the perfect option, especially considering the rising numbers of local pedestrian travel in recent years. And once the bridge was opened everyone else saw the possibilities, too.

It wasn’t long after this idea formed that local engineering expert, Dr. Jeff Davis, and his team of dedicated students from the Citadel Military College provided considerable research and input for the implementation of the route. Twenty-five students collected data along the proposed route, analyzed traffic operations, developed proposed improvements and developed preliminary cost estimates. This required over 1,500 hours of service from ASCE student members and involved professional presentations and publicity of project findings through a variety of public forums.

They also collaborated with a local graduate student from the College of Charleston, named Tiffany Norton, to research and measure the entire route. This culminated in an important Benefit-Cost study which showed that not only was the route feasible, but that it would bring more than 40 million extra dollars in revenue per year to the Charleston area.

The results of the study enabled the B2B supporters to collaborate throughout multiple jurisdictions including:

  • Isle of Palms
  • Sullivan’s Island
  • Mt. Pleasant
  • Charleston
  • James Island
  • Folly Beach
  • Charleston County
  • Charleston County Parks & Recreation
  • SC Dept. of TransportationEach jurisdiction has made modifications to the original 32.7 mile route, and as a result, 3.8 miles has been added for a new B2B length of 36.6 miles, extending from Isle of Palms Marina to County Park on the west end of Folly Beach.

    Progress of Battery2Beach

    By 2011, Charleston Moves was endorsed by a group of politicians for the Battery2Beach initiative, some of who were appointed to an inter-governmental working group to decide the feasibility of the route and negotiate the details through the five governments it spans. The 20-member group, Chaired by County Council Member Colleen Condon, has held monthly meetings since October of 2012 to make the route a reality— and today, it is.

    You can travel most of the route and observe new signs going up all the time. Use it for commuting, sightseeing, recreation, exercise, or family fun. And while we are still in progress on connecting and improving the entire length of the route, you can check our progress updates HERE to see where we are at, what’s next and what’s new with B2B.
    We are always excited to hear your stories of fun along the route, or even your ideas on ways we can improve it. Contact us HERE to be part of the process.

    Future of Battery2Beach

    Battery2Beach has received widespread support and reception in the Charleston area. So much so, that we plan to have bicycle and pedestrian routes extending to County Parks and along other spurs such as Spruill Avenue and the West Ashley Greenway, to make more areas of Charleston accessible to alternative commuters. We see the Battery2Beach route as the basis for a greater mixed-use route in the Lowcountry. We hope to also connect Charleston externally to other routes by linking to the East Coast Greenway.

    Come back and visit the site for more updates and links on our progress.

    General Facts

    • South Carolina ranks 40th in the country for bicycle and commuter rates
    • In Charleston, 17% of households do not own a car
    • 1,834 (0r 3%) of people in Charleston commute by bicycle
    • 95% of people ride bikes for health and fitness reasons
    • 47% of Americans say they would like more bike facilities in their communities
    • 40% of trips are 2 miles or less; 90% of those are made by car
    • 20lbs of CO2 is released per gallon of gas from driving, as opposed to 0% from biking or walking
    • Up to 50% of income costs can be reduced when only one car per home is needed
    • The annual economic impact of cyclists is almost 9x as much as the one-time expenditure of public funds used to construct bicycle facilities
    • Houses located in areas with above-average walkability or bikeability are worth up to $34,000 more than similar houses in areas without.
    • Protected bike lanes drop risks of pedestrian injury by 90%
    • Overall, 83% of Americans and 84% of Southerners support maintaining or increasing support for bicycle facilities
    • You can park about 15 bicycles in the same space that one car takes
    • Cycling three hours or 30 kilometers per week halves your risk of heart disease and strokes.
    • Maintaining a bike annually costs twenty times less than maintaining and riding a car.
    • The bicycle is the most efficient vehicle ever devised; a human on a bicycle is more efficient (in calories expended per kilo and per kilometer) than a train, truck, airplane, boat, car, motorcycle or any other vehicle.
    • There are about 1 billion bikes in the world, compared to half as many motorized vehicles. About 100 million bikes are manufactured every year.
    • Research has shown that tripling the number of bike riders on the street cuts motorist-bicyclist crashes in half.