When we saw this Streetfilms Video showing the new protected bike lane trail in Boston we said to ourselves, “why don’t we have such great safe infrastructure in our urban parts of Greenville County?”
The answer is easy-we have a significant lack of funding for such projects. The City of Greenville recognizes the need for better trails, and has put $1MM a year in the current and future budgets for trails using Hospitality Tax revenue that must serve tourism. This will pay for the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail extension parallel to Laurens Road, and perhaps will pay for the Laurel Creek Trail that will connect the SRT to Haywood Mall, for which a feasibility study will be done this year.
Urban protected bike lane funding comes from another source- GPATS (Greenville-Pickens Area Transportation Study). The 2040 Plan that has recently been adopted provides 10 percent of spending for bike and pedestrian projects, a total of $30.7 MM that will be spent from 2024 through 2040. The three protected bike lane projects included in GPATS plan were the direct result of our advocacy as members of the City Green Ribbon Advisory Committee Mobility Task Force.
This advocacy work started in 2016, and as shown in the below graphic, the first protected bike lane on Pendleton Street is the second ranked project which means it could be started in 2024 or 2025. Our third protected bike lane project for Richardson Street is ranked 14th so don’t expect to see that built until 2040.
A timeline of study to construction of 8 to 24 years is far too long.
Clearly these timelines must be reduced and this can only be achieved. with another funding source. Recently, members of Greenville County Council have talked about another sales tax referendum for roads. You may recall that there were 100 bike walk projects on the 2014 referendum that was handily defeated by the voters.
Our need for safe walking and biking infrastructure is well recognized by Greenville City Council and by some on Greenville County Council. These elected officials need to hear from more citizens that our funding is inadequate and we need to accelerate timelines.