Mar 04 2011

Op-Ed: Questioning our councils

River Road at 0745 rush hour - does it really need a bypass road? Photo by Harry Polychron

by Harry Polychron

I’ve lived on Seabrook Island for 14 years and have yet to meet a single Seabrooker who arrived here because he fell off a turnip truck. I doubt there are too many Kiawah residents that fit that description either, but our town halls certainly treat us that way in regards to their relentless push for the cross Johns Island road construction project, the Greenway.

Lately, we’ve seen a big surge in propaganda. The last one is themed after the ridiculous notion that road construction doesn’t promote development. Before these people surrender our Lowcountry to further urban sprawl, please ask your town’s leaders a few questions:

1. Isn’t the main driver for this road powerful development interests on Kiawah and Johns Island?

2. Is it true these developers found some money to build a toll road, something their own consultant said wouldn’t work?

3. Isn’t it illegal and unethical to spend taxpayer money to hire a lobbyist who is unregistered? We know you call him a consultant but what are you asking him to do?

4. What is the total compensation to Maurice Washington and whose paying it? Are we being used by paying a token amount to lend credibility?

5. How does building a new road address the safety issues of the current roads?

6. Why are the drunk, cell phone using, texting, speeding and otherwise distracted drivers who cause the accidents on our roads now going to change their ways on the Greenway?

7. Do you really think we believe 375 cars per hour enter Betsy Kerrison from River Road 24/7?

8. Do we really need a new road that parallels lightly-used River Road? Why don’t we just remove the hazards of River Road at a fraction of the price?

9. Do you seriously think the workers who commute to our islands every day will drive out of their way off Main Road to use the Greenway and possibly pay a toll to boot?

10. Isn’t it disingenuous to compare the proposed Greenway to that beautiful road in Virginia, the Colonial Parkway? Of course there’s no new development there, it’s a national park.

11. Aren’t you embarrassed to say the way to keep Johns Island rural is to build a road through the remaining open land?

12. Why do you say Johns Islanders are clamoring for this new road while they really think it is just an arrogant assault on their way of life?

13. The original report from the county’s consultant said the Greenway only made sense if I-526 is completed. How and why did that language get expunged?

14. Ultimately, if all the development already planned occurs and our roads really do become congested, wouldn’t the most good for the most people be served by four lane-ing Betsy Kerrison all the way to Rte. 17 and fixing that intersection?

It’s time to push back and preserve a Lowcountry gem; rural Johns Island.

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