Is this safe biking infrastructure for those 8 to 80?

“Simpsonville Swamp Rabbit Trail” is a public Facebook Group that was created five years ago to “talk about, create energy and ideas and partner with people that would like to see the Swamp Rabbit Trail come to Simpsonville.”

On November 2, 2019 the below news was posted.  We also shared this to the Bike Walk Greenville Facebook Page.

Many comments were received and most were surprised to see what appeared to be a wide shoulder along South Main Street.

One comment seemed to capture the reaction of many, “This is so disappointing if this really is our section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. It’s nothing like I/we expected. We (Simpsonville residents) wanted our section of the trail to look and be as nice as the other 20 miles of the trail. Not look like some afterthought.

What happened to all that money the city had from that grant study that was supposed to tell them the best place to put the trail?

This is so dangerous, ugly and inadequate.

We wanted our section to look like the one in Travelers Rest not “this!”

 

 

Others were more sympathetic including an experienced trail planner who wrote, “Agree that on-street isn’t for the family ride all the time; however sometimes there aren’t any other viable, financially or otherwise, options for connectivity.”

We fully understand that retrofitting our current car-centric  infrastructure to accommodate people on foot and on bikes is difficult.  There is obviously limited right of way on South Main Street.

The moderator of the Simpsonville page clarified the final design by posting this picture that uses bike lane separators – Armadillo by Cyclehoop, a British company whose website is dated February 2014.  We were surprised not to find more recent content and usage examples .  We found a 2014 YouTube video from 2014 where British cyclists were interviewed about the safety of the Armadillo, but the use case is very different from Simpsonville.

We are skeptical that this solution will provide the necessary safety from distracted drivers. A sidewalk was insufficient protection from the recent horrible road rage incident that crippled a 13 year old boy on North Pleasantburg Drive.

Families with young children feel safe on the dedicated right of way that the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail provides.

It will be interesting to measure usage of this segment when it is opened.  We believe that only the fearless  bike riders will use it.

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After posting this blog we had a phone conversation with Lou Hutchings about the Golden Strip Trail plans and he also provided this update through our Facebook page:

“Here is some clarification from Jason Hucks , one of our Golden Strip Trails, Inc. board members.  “The current confirmed section of trail will be S. Main St from the corner at Vaughn’s country store to Fairview Rd. This is currently under construction. This will be done in partnership with SC DOT during the repaving process. The city was able to add a 10’ wide bike and walking lane, all of this was done with ATAX or grant money. We would love to have support form local communities to add on to this section. Possible routes that we would like to see would include a section that connects this with Heritage Park. Allowing a safe path for families to ride from downtown to the park. We are open to public support and comments. Going along Main St to Heritage Park is all but impossible due to the lack of willingness form the Railroad. To make this happen we will need to get support from communities such as Powderhorn and Heritage Pointe, possible routes through common areas in these neighborhoods. Many of the new neighborhoods coming to the area have been required to provide areas or right of ways for trail access as part of the planning and approval process. From my understanding this has been an easy hurdle as the developers know the value of trails. Fountain Inn is working to add a trail system that will eventually connect their Downtown to Heritage Park, from the Mauldin side of town – plans are in the works now to bring the trail across 385 at the new development along Butler Rd. Connecting that to downtown Simpsonville will be no easy task, but public support will certainly be needed on all areas. The goal is to use public and private grants and donations as well as ATAX type funds to make the trails a great addition without property tax dollars or increases.” — It would be great to see a connection made from the S Main trail to Simpsonville City Park”.- Jason Hucks       This section of Trail from Trade Street to Fairview Road in Simpsonville is not yet the Swamp Rabbit Trail. As Jason stated, it is a section of Trail that we hope to someday connect with the existing SRT.”

 

 

 

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