By Elizabeth W. Duda and Ben Ullman
Fort Mill, SC (Jan. 21, 2020) Have you driven on a newly paved road and thought, “what a shame that they didn’t add a sidewalk?” Or wonder why your car and a bicyclist have to share the same lane – “why didn’t they add a dedicated lane for cyclists?” Then you ask your elected official – who responds that it is too expensive to go back and add it? Well, right now we can tell the SC Department of Transportation (DOT) that we want safe, dedicated pedestrian and cycling access added into its plan to reconfigure the 160 at I-77 (exit 85 between Baxter Village and Kingsley in Fort Mill).
- Share your feedback directly with the SC DOT at www.SC160project.com in the “Contact Us” tab. Or email the project manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Old school? Send him a letter to Mr. Berry Mattox, 955 Park Street, Columbia, SC 29201. All before February 14, 2020.
- Attend the DOT public meeting on Thursday, 01/30/2020, between 5-7pm (drop-in format) at Real Life Church, 1930 Pleasant Road, Fort Mill. (And there is a concurrent online meeting at www.SC160project.com .)
- Sign the Bike/Ped Coalition of York County petition at https://chng.it/6CCRhZpFdZ By January 30.
What can you say? Residents (families! children!) and workers should be able to walk, run, bike and roll safely between Baxter Village & Kingsley (and eventually to other Fort Mill locations), without impeding or fearing traffic. Please include dedicated cycling and pedestrian infrastructure!
Why do we want that? Dedicated infrastructure for pedestrians/cyclists reduces traffic congestion helping residents, workers and commuters. Fewer cars means parking is more accessible so businesses benefit and customers are less frustrated. Air quality improves. Conflict between cars, bicycles and pedestrians declines so the commute and mental health benefit. More walking, running and rolling improves physical fitness and health. All of this means overall improved quality of life for drivers, residents and workers. We like living and working here better! Businesses do better! Real estate sells better! This is a win-win-win-win-win situation! Ask the SC DOT to add dedicated pedestrian/cycle infrastructure now, as congestion will only get worse.
What are people saying?
Elizabeth Duda, mother of 3, and chair of Eat Smart Move More York County, submitted this comment to www.SC160project.com: Please ensure that families/residents and workers can walk, run, bike and roll safely between Baxter Village and Kingsley in Fort Mill – without impeding or fearing traffic. My family, which includes elementary and middle school-aged children, regularly bikes, skates and walks for transportation, exercise and leisure. We bike, skate and walk to schools, restaurants, businesses, and parks; and we would do it more if it were safer. We want to be able to bike/roll and walk/run between Baxter Village and Kingsley, as we like to play, shop, eat and exercise in these communities. Safe, direct pedestrian/cycling access would reduce traffic congestion helping residents, workers and commuters; lower conflict between cars, bicycles and pedestrians; improve physical fitness and health; improve air quality; help local businesses by improving access; and overall improve quality of life for drivers, residents and workers. Please add dedicated ped/cycle infrastructure now during this interchange reconstruction – we need it now, and congestion will only get worse. Maybe you add a pedestrian bridge like Rock Hill is adding to remove pedestrians from the road? A buffered bike lane! Please! Thank you for your consideration.
John Cardozo, Catawba Ridge Riders Director, Fort Mill resident, emailed this comment to email@example.com: I write to you as a bicyclist who would like to be able to ride from the downtown Fort Mill area over to Baxter Village. I am also a local bicycle coach and know many of our kids who live in Baxter Village wish they could ‘safely’ ride their bikes from Baxter Village to Anne Springs Close Greenway. There are ample sidewalks on either side of the highway leading to the bridge, however, at this time navigating this interchange area (SC 160/I-77) is an intimidating experience. I will do my best to come to your open house event on 1/30. In case I cannot make it, I do ask your team to consider this bicycle-oriented request. I fully expect your team will be taking into consideration pedestrians. It seems important that bicycle traffic also is considered. Potentially, the addition of these lanes could decrease local car traffic. I also would like to share a book title that is all about urban planning for cyclists. It is based on extensive knowledge accumulated in the Nederlands where, in many cities, there are more bikes than people. This book may serve as a useful reference from a planning perspective. Building the Cycling City by Melissa Bruntlett & Chris Bruntlett. Thank you in advance for considering these points.
Other info :
- Rock Hill Herald article, “Baxter-to-Kingsley: SCDOT responds to public’s call that plan include walkers, bikers” by John Marks
- CN2 News interview, “Residents push for pedestrian/cyclist safety in Fort Mill, protest SCDOT” with Rachel Richardson
About the authors: Liz Duda and Ben Ullman are co-chairs of the Bike-Ped Coalition of York County.
About the Bike/Ped Coalition of York County:
- Vision – An engaged York County where bicycling and walking are safe, accessible and preferred forms of transportation and recreation
- Purpose – Educate, advocate, and promote the health, economic, environmental and social benefits of bicycling and walking.
a) Share, generate and validate ideas and information amongst local governments, government entities and organizations on efforts, successes and challenges related to York County communities becoming more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
b) Equip York County residents with information to advocate for safer, accessible bicycling, walking and running.
c) Engage decisionmakers and community members throughout York County on the health, economic, environmental and social benefits of bicycling and walking.
- Facebook page: @BPCYC (Bike/Ped Coalition of York County)