A small advocacy win in the news today from Travelers Rest Mayor Pro Tem Brandy Hart Amidon –the SCDOT has implemented a 5 second “leading pedestrian interval” at the Swamp Rabbit Trail Crossing in downtown Travelers Rest. We have been advocating for intersection improvements at the Main Street/ McElhaney Rd/ Center Street intersection for almost one year.
As you may recall, Bike Walk Greenville organized volunteers in late March to count people crossing the intersection, and we had the opportunity to present these tallies to Travelers Rest and SCDOT staff in April. SCDOT agreed that our count of 1613 people in 8 hours on a cool and overcast Saturday was an impressive number and warranted further investigation of solutions.
BWG had proposed a “pedestrian scramble design” where all traffic stops upon push button request by pedestrians and cyclists. SCDOT studied this request, but decided that the cyclist and pedestrian numbers during weekdays (approximately 35% of the Saturday counts) did not justify our recommendation since the signal can only be programmed for 7 days a week, not just the weekends.
SCDOT then suggested a comprehensive traffic study by a professional engineer be performed as the next step. It was subsequently learned that funding for such a study would be difficult to obtain.
In mid July, a local traffic engineering consultant discussed the intersection with SCDOT, and suggested that the leading pedestrian interval solution be explored. In this solution pedestrians and cyclists get the white walk signal for 5 seconds before the vehicles get a green light. This is far better than the previous situation where pedestrians and cyclists get the white light simultaneously with vehicles getting a green light.
Will this change result in safety for pedestrians and cyclists? BWG will follow up on this new solution and is pleased that the volunteer efforts have resulted in needed change.