If you google the subject of “advocacy success” you will discover statements such as, “In The Elusive Craft of Evaluating Advocacy, the authors reinforce how challenging it can be to evaluate advocacy – unless you take a long term view.”
When you examine Bike Walk Greenville’s mission to advocate for safe biking and walking infrastructure we have learned that the long view is essential. Getting infrastructure projects imagined, agreed to, designed and built takes time. Recent stories about the Swamp Rabbit Trail project from Cleveland Park to CU-ICAR document that such projects have long timelines. The City began allocating money for the bridges in 2015, including a condition that the County had to contract for construction by year end 2016. But construction can not start without right of way easements that were not all in place until 2019. The current schedule is to complete the project by December 2022.
We hope to soon have an advocacy victory that will only be 5 1/2 years in the making! We published this blog about our volunteers counting people crossing the main intersection of the SRT in Travelers Rest. “On Saturday we counted 1,613 people crossing the intersection. March 26 was a cool, windy day with a few sprinkles of rain, yet people were in Travelers Rest enjoying the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail as well as the shops and restaurants. The data showed 897 people were walking or running, and 716 were on bicycles.”
We subsequently met with SCDOT Officials, who said while the trail user counts were impressive, that stopping all motorists to allow for a diagonal crossing would cause motor vehicles to back up, and this is US-276!
We kept the discussion going with the help of Mayor Brandy Amidon, and remarkably things have changed at SCDOT, and the concept has been approved. Travelers Rest City Council appropriated funding last year, and it is expected that construction will commence soon. We look forward to celebrating an advocacy win only half a decade in the making.
Below are some of the volunteers on March 26, 2016.