As an all volunteer non-profit, Bike Walk Greenville made some notable progress in 2016, and we believe it is worthwhile to document our accomplishments.
1) We hosted an exclusive showing of the Bikes Vs. Cars documentary in February. The initial theater we were given access to sold out thanks to the response of our engaged cycling community!
2) In March Greenville County Council adopted the first ever Bike Walk Plan that Bike Walk Greenville sponsored as our first major initiative. The projects listed in this plan were part of the 2014 Roads Referendum that the voters defeated. We are pleased that Council has formally adopted this plan and we will continue to advocate for funding of these needed projects.
3) In late March, thanks to Bike Walk Greenville board members and volunteers, a bike and pedestrian count was completed at the intersection of Main Street and McElhaney in downtown Travelers Rest. The count was initiated based on feedback from community members and trail users who expressed safety concerns about the street crossing and numerous near misses and collisions between pedestrians and cyclists and cars.
Following the count and our submission of recommendations to SCDOT, a leading pedestrian interval signal was installed, which allows pedestrians and people on bikes additional time to cross the street before vehicles receive their green light. This was a wonderful demonstration of our advocacy bringing results for the safety of local community residents.
4) As an advocacy organization, we cannot endorse political candidates, but we can provide information to our followers about their stance on local issues affecting transportation infrastructure.
2016 was an active election year locally, and Bike Walk Greenville worked diligently to provide information on where local candidates stood on issues that matter to us and our followers in advance of the June primary elections. We surveyed SC Senate, House, and County Council candidates during this election cycle.
5) Our most notable achievement of 2016 centered around introducing protected bike lanes to our community:
We partnered with the City of Greenville to build South Carolina’s first protected bike lane on East Broad Street in the heart of downtown. Installed on May 27, the demonstration project was left in place until early October when that installation was dismantled for the annual Fall for Greenville event.
- We received extensive media coverage from WYFF, The Greenville Journal, and The Greenville News
- The project and the coverage introduced the concept of the need for safer bicycling infrastructure to a large audience
- We helped the city create an online survey where respondents were overwhelmingly in favor of protected bike lanes
The City of Greenville contracted with Alta Planning + Design to prepare a report on potential streets that are candidates for protected bike lanes.
- 51 routes are on the list, and we have partnered with city staff in a very detailed evaluation of potential projects
- The City Council appointed Green Ribbon Advisory Committee has a mobility sub-committee that is engaged in the evaluation, and this subcommittee will continue on this effort in 2017. Two representatives from Bike Walk Greenville have been appointed to this sub-committee
We met with several members of Greenville City Council about protected bike lane.
- We have received positive feedback from these meetings and believe that these elected officials understand the need for safer bicycling infrastructure in our city.
- The mayor has been particularly supportive of our efforts
6) While we try not to become a policing group, often we have the difficult task of reporting on tragedies involving people on bikes. It is a topic of great concern for much of our constituency, and nothing hits home harder than losing what we consider one of our own. Unfortunately, cycling tragedies do occur, and it’s why we do the work we do. We believe, with proper infrastructure and planning, events like this do not have to happen.
7) In December we published the disappointing news that only 3% of Greenville residents live in a walkable community.
As we begin 2017 with renewed focus, an invigorated Board, and a never ending passion for ensuring Greenville County remains the kind of place we all want to live and work, we’re committed to change that statistic.