How do you serve the lowcountry?

Zimmerman: We are a nonprofit organization working toward safer, more convenient walking and biking in Charleston County. We work to be at the table with developers and municipal planners and engineers, ensuring safe and connected bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is included in designs. We are strengthening our outreach to and grassroots support from Charleston’s citizenry. We also have a signature project called Battery to Beach (B2B), with the goal of having a connected bicycle and pedestrian route extending from Isle of Palms to Sullivan’s through Mt. Pleasant, over to the peninsula to West Ashley and James Island, and finally to Folly Beach.

What volunteer opportunities do you have for the public?

Zimmerman: We recently kicked off our Neighborhood Ambassadors program during National Bike Month (May). This program is an opportunity for citizens to assess their neighborhood and take an active leadership role to improve bicycle and walking connections or safety. Anyone interested in volunteering for the program can contact Katie@CharlestonMoves.org.

If you sign up for our email list, we will keep you updated on civic participation opportunities. For example, supporters of the conversion of a lane on the Legare Bridge for bicycle and pedestrian use would have received an email from us to come to the council meetings or contact their council members for a vote. To sign up, visit CharlestonMoves.us2.list-manage.com/subscribe 

We always love for folks to volunteer to help us with events. We host many events throughout the year, and these events are ways for people to connect with the biking and walking community in Charleston, to learn about the benefits of biking and walking, and to have fun. Since we are a staff of two, we always love when people want to help us out! For more information about volunteer opportunities, visit CharlestonMoves.org/volunteer.

What have been some of the greatest successes of your organization?

Zimmerman: Our greatest success has been Wonders’ Way. The Charleston area since then has been increasing in population and development, without investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The only way to address traffic congestion will be to reduce the amount of vehicular traffic on the road. This will come in the forms of mass transit, bicycle use, and pedestrians. In addition, providing safe and connected bike/ped infrastructure is a step toward environmental conservation, improved equity and health, and economic savings.

We also know that more people want to be able to bike and walk when it is safe. So we now have the people power to achieve success. We need to help our elected officials understand that their constituents expect to be able to bike and walk.

Jennifer Iamele Savage is a transitional life coach and a secondary Montessori educator. Her latest project, the Mindfull Mamas Project, aims to coach women who are struggling with the identity of motherhood and help them uncover their creative voice so they can step into their purpose and rediscover who they are. Connect with her at InspirationAndBliss.com.

Photos: Seven Design

Charleston Moves—Transforming Charleston

Through Movement and Community:
An Interview with Executive Director Katie Zimmerman
by Jennifer Iamele Savage

How did your organization get started?

Zimmerman: Charleston Moves was formed in the mid-1990s as the Charleston Bicycle Advisory Group (CBAG) with the goal of bike and pedestrian accommodation on the Ravenel Bridge to connect Mt. Pleasant and downtown Charleston. At the time, the bridge design did not include a bicycle or pedestrian path. A collaboration of citizens got together and campaigned for a bicycle and pedestrian path. There was quite a bit of opposition to the idea among decision makers. One S.C. legislator quipped that if we got a bicycle and pedestrian lane, next Charlestonians would want a lane for horse carriages.

CBAG launched a campaign of Can’t Wait to Bike the Bridge with T-shirts, bumper stickers and postcards. The postcards inundated the offices of the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and the mayors of Mt. Pleasant and Charleston. The mayors relented and both helped convince the SCDOT to include a bike/ped path.

Since then, Wonders’ Way has undoubtedly become the best bike and pedestrian facility in the state and remains Charleston’s most democratic public space. CBAG changed its name and adopted pedestrian advocacy into its mission after its successful campaign and formed what is now Charleston Moves. Charleston Moves provides advocacy and community leadership to transform Charleston into a bike- and pedestrian-friendly region.