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:
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.
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.