February 14, 2020
The Bike/Ped Coalition of York County advocacy committee appreciates the opportunity to comment on the South Carolina Department of Transportations’ 160/I-77 (exit 85) Interchange Reconfiguration project.
“The Bike/Ped Coalition of York County gathered over 1,700 signatures in an online petition for the SC DoT in support of safe bike/ped access between Baxter Village and Kingsley! We will continue to advocate for pedestrians and bicyclists throughout York County.” -Billie Morton, Fort Mill
Resident, Advocacy Committee Member
We believe that public streets should be safe, convenient and accessible to everyone. For York County to be a safe, livable, workable and healthy community, we need a continuous and connected multimodal pathway system, including along arterials and collector roads. People need pathways for safe walking, cycling and wheelchair rolling; transportation, exercise and recreation; and transit use. This would benefit the community economically and improve the quality of life for our citizens. The mere existence of sidewalks, bike paths, and increased access to transit has positive effects on safety, physical activity levels, and access to economic opportunities. There has been a national and global trend toward increased bicycle and pedestrian activity, and we see the same increase in demand in York County. Therefore, we encourage you to expand and connect the pathway system throughout York County as a multimodal network as opportunities become available, including when new roads are built, roads are repaved, and interchanges are reconfigured.
“We are behind the times in not having bike lanes! This is the time to step up and support walking and cycling in our community.” – Kelly Macaluso, Tega Cay resident
The 160/I-77 Interchange Reconfiguration is an opportunity to connect the pathway system between Baxter Village and Kingsley (two mixed-use communities), and nearby areas. While the proposed reconfiguration options would benefit vehicle traffic in the near-to-medium term, continuing population growth will contribute to more congestion. To reduce congestion over the long term, design elements need to encourage people to walk and bicycle (here and elsewhere in the network).
“We live in a very active community and the safety of walkers, bikers, etc. is extremely important! There have already been pedestrian fatalities in this area, and anything that can be done to install safety measures is a priority!” – Yvette Koncz, Fort Mill resident
Of the three proposals, we consider “Alternative 3: Directional Interchange” to be best, though needing modifications:
- Extend the median north to Kingsley/Munn and south to Assembly Drive/Carolina Place.
- Replace the peripheral sidewalk(s) with the wide gaps with a minimum-10-foot-directional multi-use (bike/ped) pathway in the center median. Consider making it four lanes with two for walking and two for cycling. Note that “slip lanes” (where turning traffic doesn’t slow down to merge to another direction) are extremely dangerous for pedestrians.
- If including a sidewalk (or sidewalks) in addition to the multi-use pathway, ensure it is sufficiently wide, and include a grass buffer between the street and sidewalk. Recognize that a raised concrete barrier on the sides of the sidewalk might make it unusable to users with wide footprints (e.g., people in wheelchairs or walking bikes, especially if the two were to meet).
- Add crosswalks at some of the secondary crossings (particularly where it is natural for people to cross even without a crosswalk).
- Add signage and/or paint instructing road and path users how to address bicycle usage. (This is important even if you do not include explicit bicycle facilities because bicyclists will use the road in the absence of a bike- or multi-use path.)
- Add a demand-actuated phase to the signals at each end (Kingsley/Munn and Assembly/Carolina) to enable people to move to/from the median to either side of the 160.
- Ensure adequate street lighting.
We also suggest estimating the traffic reduction (mode split) as a result of this realistic bike/ped alternative to connect developments at all four corners.
“My family should be able to walk to local establishments, especially when within 1/2 mile!” -Jarelyn Clark, Fort Mill resident
Even if Alternative 3 is not chosen, many of the above recommendations apply to the other alternatives.
“This is a need and should be done as foresight rather than hindsight.” -Beverly Imler, Fort Mill resident
In future planning, before developing a “Project Purpose and Need Statement,” we urge you to solicit input from the Bike/Ped Coalition of York County as a full-fledged stakeholder. We also encourage you to consider not just “vehicle throughput” in your planning, but “people throughput” (which includes people on foot, bicycle, and public transit); minimizing vehicle-multimodal conflicts; and public health.
Elizabeth (Liz) Duda and Ben Ullman, Co-Chairs, Bike/Ped Coalition of York County
Luther Dasher, Advocacy Chair, Bike/Ped Coalition of York County
About the Bike/Ped Coalition of York County
- Vision –An engaged York County where bicycling and walking are safe, accessible and preferred forms of transportation and recreation
- Mission – To support York County and its communities becoming more bicycle and pedestrian friendly
- Purpose –
Educate, advocate, and promote the health, economic, environmental and social
benefits of bicycling and walking.
- Share, generate and validate ideas and information amongst local governments, government entities and organizations on efforts, successes and challenges related to York County communities becoming more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
- Equip York County residents with information to advocate for safer, accessible bicycling, walking and running.
- Engage decisionmakers and community members throughout York County on the health, economic, environmental and social benefits of bicycling and walking.
- Facebook page (@BPCYC): https://www.facebook.com/BPCYC/