Mayor Riley weighs in on Upper King's inclusion in Second Sundays on King Street

[Editor's note: On November 14th, we posted a letter from Daniel James of Las Olas Oceanmarket where he describes his disappointment with the city of Charleston's exclusion of Upper King Street from the Second Sundays on King Street event.]

Continuing that saga, yesterday James sent over a response he recently received in regards to his letter from mayor Joe Riley. It reads:

King Street is among the most unique shopping streets I have ever seen in any city. One of the things that makes it so special and successful is the creativity and drive of our local businesspeople and shop owners. Our local merchants and restaurateurs on King Street all the way from Broad Street to Line Street are what make the street what it is. The City of Charleston will consider any means to help each shop owner be successful.

Regarding 2nd Sunday on King Street – closing the street south of Calhoun Street presents a lot of challenges, but those are minor compared to closing the street north of Calhoun Street. Therefore, we have started this event by closing the street south of Calhoun. We will continue this approach as long as it is helpful to businesses on King Street, it furthers our campaign to attract more local people to shop on King Street and until we have refined this event to the point we can consider expanding its scope. I want to do what we are doing right now really, really well before we consider expanding the scope. We have much to work on. I welcome your suggestions and feedback.

Just one other thing. No one is allowed to walk King Street with alcoholic drinks on 2nd Sunday. Restaurants and bars that have a Sunday permit are allowed to serve patrons seated at a table. We have made this clear to the proprietors and have been careful to make sure everyone is complying.

Unsatisfied with this response, James forwarded his reply to mayor Riley to us which urges him to brainstorm on a way to get Upper King Street involved in the creative and exciting Second Sunday on King Street project.

I really appreciate your response, and I agree that King Street is one of the best shopping districts in the nation.

We have been busy here on Upper King to fully support a FIRST or SECOND or THIRD Sunday on Upper King or a rotation to include our area. I understand that there may be some issues regarding closing north of Calhoun, however, it can be done with proper coordination between city officials and the Charleston Police Department. Traffic could be re-routed up Meeting and St. Philip streets to alleviate problems from Spring to Vanderhorst, since they are both two way streets. We have plenty of parking vouchers for the city garages as well.

During the Second Sunday on Lower King, the entire Upper King is used as a parking lot and I have spoken with several other business owner who have voiced that their business has actually suffered on the two trial runs so far. While Lower King is profiting, it is at our expense. We need to be included and are more than happy to help make it a success.

We are not asking for you to close the whole of King Street, just yet. Maybe for the 4th of July it would be amazing to have the entire street opened to pedestrians, which would encourage more responsibility during the holiday, but that discussion could take place in the future.

So please, I am asking that Upper King Street be included in this experiment as soon as possible. With the upcoming holiday shopping season, it would be a great boost to our local economy. Upper King Street would like to have the support of the Mayor's office in helping our local businesses strive and survive. I would love to continue to help a joint brainstorming engagement, in anyway possible, so that we can get Upper King Street involved in this creative and exciting opportunity in our city.

It is clear that both businesses and shoppers would benefit from the expansion of the Second Sunday on King Street project, and we hope that one day soon the city and the Upper King Street business district can hash out some sort of plan and work together.

Filed in