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Uptown study could ease future congestion

Post Date:09/03/2018 11:11 AM

INDEX JOURNAL

September 3, 2018

ADAM BENSON

Motorists traveling through Uptown Greenwood might notice a bumpier ride than usual.

But the result could mean more efficiency for motorists.

The equipment – rumble strips in front of the Greenwood County Library and near the Emerald Triangle and cameras at pedestrian crossing points – is being used as part of a traffic calming study whose findings will help make the popular merchant district safer.

“Traffic calming studies are a valuable tool to balance the sometimes competing needs between mobility through a corridor and the experience at a specific point along that corridor. Studies of this nature can be applied to neighborhood streets or to urban streets like Uptown Main Street,” said Rachael Bronson, transportation planning specialist for Asheville, North Carolina-based Traffic Planning and Design Inc., which is conducting the analysis. “Depending on the street context, the studies can vary widely, but they often strike a balance between different modes (people walking, biking and driving) to ensure that a special place feels safe for people of all ages and abilities.”

City Manager Charlie Barrineau said the field testing is being bounced off a focus group that includes representatives from Lander University, Uptown merchants, City Council, faith-based groups, conservationists and recreational clubs.

“Ultimately, we hope that TPD can give us realistic actions for implementation that can be carried into the larger update to the City Center Master Plan,” Barrineau said.

Traffic Planning and Design won the $15,000 contract, but the overall project is budgeted at $87,500, through city funds and grants.

“The traffic volume, speed and multimodal data will be used to make decisions on the ultimate recommendations. It’s hard to say what the recommendations will look like as the project just kicked off, but the existing conditions data will inform the decisions on how to address current challenges on the corridor,” Bronson said.

Bronson said the traffic devices should be removed by the middle of next week.

“During the study, motorists will not experience any disruption to traffic flow. Residents might see the tube counters out on the corridor, as well as cameras at certain intersections to capture the number of cars turning and pedestrians/bicycles in the intersection,” she said.

Contact staff writer Adam Benson at 864-943-5650 or on Twitter @ABensonIJ.