Crosswalks on Sullivan’s Island may become more abundant in the near future after a motorist hit a child walking his bicycle while crossing Middle Street near Station 21 on May 10.
At May’s Public Safety Committee meeting, four days after the accident, the mother of the child who was involved in the accident was in attendance. She reported her son’s injury was not severe and he was recovering from the accident.
She noted her son attends Sullivan’s Island Elementary School and regularly walks his bicycle on the sidewalk and right of way along I’On Avenue to Station 21 or 22 before re-entering Middle Street. She explained her son’s intention was to go to the Stith Park basketball courts when he was struck by the oncoming motorist.
In summation, she advocated for a crosswalk at Station 21 Street and would like to see a speed bump in this area. Committee members noted the town has previously approached South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) about a crosswalk at the specified location but they’ve been unsuccessful.
At the June 18 council meeting, a month after the accident, council members took a more constructive approach. Councilmember Tim Reese made a motion for staff to coordinate with SCDOT for potential crosswalks to be implemented at Station 21 and strategic locations along Jasper Boulevard.
Reese’s motion was amended to include the potential for electronic flashing speed limit signs and exploration of signage around the island. The motion passed unanimously.
“This is not going to be an easy slam dunk by any means because SCDOT regulates (it),” said Mayor Pat O’Neil.
Town administrator Andy Benke says the reason SCDOT is hesitant about having a crosswalk in the desired location is because ideally they would like to have it connect from one sidewalk to another. Benke explained the placement poses a problem to SCDOT as Station 21 Street’s four roads don’t connect with a sidewalk system, creating an atypical intersection.
Benke brought up the point that Palm Boulevard on Isle of Palms has multiple crosswalks from 21st to 43rd Avenue that go from dirt to dirt without any sidewalks.
As far as repainting existing crosswalks, Benke said it would also require SCDOT approval but the town would have to pay the expense. He noted SCDOT requires removal of thermoplastic paint and re-application of same product in crosswalks, which means the town cannot repaint over existing paint. SCDOT typically waits five years between crosswalk repaintings.
In the meantime, town staff and committee members plan to meet with traffic engineers to figure out a way to get SCDOT to “budge.”
“I think we just have to put more pressure on (SCDOT),” Benke added.
Sullivan’s Island Police Department declined to comment by the time of this article’s publication.