Road plan out of character

The Aiken Report we residents receive along with the city water bill has a circular logo that reads “Character First Aiken.” This motto is repeated on banners throughout the city. The October Aiken Report describes efforts to make Aiken a safer community. Various brochures invite visitors and residents to “come and experience our town with its beautiful parkways and shaded streets, its double avenues ....” Much is published about Aiken’s unique identity and charm. Importance is placed on preserving wildlife and natural areas. The city of Aiken, in its brochure defining Aiken’s attractions, includes a glowing description of “The citywide arboretum” and invites exploration and enjoyment of the “serene beauty of our city.”

I am sorely disappointed in the individuals among the decision-makers in Aiken and in the state who don’t care very much about any of the graces of Aiken mentioned above, and are ignoring the character traits that are supposed to come first here. Nor must they care about the residents whose homes are jeopardized. We who live, work and worship in the south part of the city are facing the destruction of an attractive residential parkway turned into a commercial corridor, with no provision for environmental relief from hard pavement and heavy traffic. Hitchcock Parkway is busy during certain times of the day when commuters use it. Turning lanes and another traffic signal or two would be a less invasive solution to the congestion. Instead, the S.C. Department of Transportation, with the blessing of several of our city, county and state elected officials, is intent on inflicting a highway of four to five lanes, with its accompanying disturbances on countless residents, churches and businesses along Hitchcock Parkway, as well as Hitchcock Woods.

Where is Aiken’s character in that?

Marilyn Hartley