SRT / SC-253 Intersection Advocacy Time Line

On March 15, 2023 we celebrated the mobilization of the signal contractor at the Prisma Helath Swamp Rabbit Trail (SRT) intersection with SC-253. Our post on social media received great appreciation from the people who use the SRT, with the most common comment being “Finally!”

On Thursday, April 20, 2023 the signal went live and the below video was posted on social media and where it was celebrated with likes, shares and over 3,000 views.

Video of some of the first trail users to use the new signal at 2:15 PM on Thursday April, 20, 2023, while the signal contractor was making final adjustments.

On April 14, 2023 Katy Smith the producer of Simple Civics: Greenville County recorded a podcast with Ty Houck on the left and Frank Mansbach on the right.

The podcast was released on Tuesday April 18, 2023, two days before the signal went live and part of the podcast includes Ty and Frank telling the eight year history leading to the signal.

You can listen to the 24 minute podcast at this link and you can also read the transcript.

Prior to the podcast, which does a great job in covering the SRT story, we prepared the below blog explaining the advocacy process that started in 2015:

On March 20, 2023 Taggart Houck with WYFF News 4 interviewed our Executive Director Frank Mansbach at the interesection, and a 48 second segment was broadcast on the 6:00 PM News. We have learned that TV interviews are always reduced to sound bites, and here is the 15 seconds from Frank that was included in the broadcast:

“It’s an old saying that advocacy for safe biking and walking is measured in decades, not years,” Bike Walk Greenville Executive Director Frank Mansbach said. “This is a perfect example. Bike Walk Greenville has been working on this for eight years, and we’re finally happy to say we have a solution.”

We thought it would be important to chronicle this 8 year effort in this blog post.

Our first efforts were at the request of Ty Houck the Director of Greenways for Greenville County Rec. In 2015, we organized volunteer Professional Engineers from Fluor to visit the site and look at the feasibilty of using one of the 5 box culverts of the Reedy River as a tunnel for trail users. The team concluded that the culvert use was not feasible. A subsequent study by another firm engaged by Ty came to the same conclusion.

This photo was taken in June, 2021, and the sediment build up in the culvert was significant since our 2015 evaluation.

In September, 2018 the SRT user community was excited to see the mobilzation of the signal contractor at Sulphur Springs Road and the SRT. But many questioned why this location was signalized before SC-253.

We subsequently learned from Greenvile County Rec that SCDOT had approved the signal concept for both SC-253 and Sulphur Springs, but detailed design was not implemented at SC-253.

In December 2019, we posted this photo on social media:

The 2020 date did not materialize, and the reason was apparently that the County Council Chairman who represents the district did not believe that a traffic light was necessary at the intersection.

In 2021 the use of the culverts was again promoted by the non-profit UGATA:

This photo was taken near the intersection in June, 2021

This led to yet another study that again concluded that the idea was infeasible.

In the June 2022 Republican Primary for County Council District 19, Benton Blount defeated the incumbent Chairman. Blount’s campaign theme to build a bridge over SC-253 reasonated with voters.

We at Bike Walk Greenville believed that this election result made it time to act to get the signal, and our Board Vice-Chair Dr. John McBurney wrote a commentary that was published by the Post and Courier.

The opinion piece was effective and when we sent it to the top safety official at SCDOT headquarters the action towards finally getting a traffic signal soon commenced.

In December, 2022 the Post and Courier covered the coming signal:

The Bridge that Benton Blount campaigned on was actually included as part of the Fee in Lieu of Tax (FILOT) agreement between the On The Trail developer of the former Union Bleachery Site and Greenvile County that was enacted in February, 2022.

Since taking office in January, Council Member Bluont has started investigating ways to accclerate the bridge project timeline. When the bridge is completed, the traffic signal will be relocated to the entrance of the On The Trail development at Old Bleachery Road.

Eric Connor with the Post and Courier wrote this update on March 23 2023

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