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AIA Charleston is pleased to announce an ideas-competition developed to exhibit the power of design in transforming under utilized community assets. 

The Septima P. Clark Parkway, also known as the “Crosstown,” is an efficient high-speed connection across the downtown Charleston peninsula. This artery is used by more than 60,000 vehicles everyday and has been christened “The Great Connector” by elected officials. Ironically, the Great Connector has created a Great Divide through the heart of the peninsula. Designed primarily for high speed vehicular traffic, the Crosstown effectively divides the city and creates a perilous crossing for pedestrians. In 1975 a pedestrian bridge was erected to provide a safe connection across the highway. Although well intentioned, the bridge was constructed at a mid-block location remote from major intersections and the bridge access points were poorly defined. As a result the bridge has been in-effective at attracting pedestrian use. In addition to the bridge’s under utilization, its somber utilitarian appearance provides an unpleasant gateway into the city. 

WALK THIS WAY is a call for designers to re imagine the existing pedestrian bridge as a welcoming, pedestrian oriented structure that fosters connections through the heart of the city. Although considerations have been publicly discussed about adding additional pedestrian bridges, the most viable, sustainable short term solution would be to revitalize this existing amenity. Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Hon. AIA and staff have given AIA Charleston full support in this important exploration.

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