York County, SC (Dec. 23, 2018) The Rock Hill Herald published an abbreviated version of this letter to the editor, entitled, “Bike, walking trails important for local cities.”
We support the City of Tega Cay’s efforts to create a Bicycle, Pedestrian and Trail Master Plan as an addendum to the city’s comprehensive plan. Documenting and implementing this plan will enhance Tega Cay’s long-term attractiveness (i.e., “The Good Life”) and economic success, and community members’ safety and health. The global trend is towards more biking and pedestrian activity, and we have the same demand here in York County. In Eat Smart Move More York County’s efforts to make the healthy choice the easy choice in York County, we know the importance of making biking and walking more accessible and safer in our community.
Did you know?
- S.C. has the 5th highest bike and pedestrian fatality rate in the U.S.[i] Improving infrastructure design, and coordinating with repaving opportunities as systems age, is the most effective way to increase safety and reduce biker and walker fatality rates.
- Two of three S.C. adults are overweight or obese[ii]. S.C. is 13th in the U.S. for adult obesity[iii] and 2nd for childhood obesity[iv]. Increased physical activity is associated with lower rates of obesity and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as walking or biking each week[v], yet most South Carolinians do not meet this goal[vi].
- Residents are 65% more likely to walk in a neighborhood with sidewalks[vii].
- 43% of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home met recommended activity levels; only 27% without safe places to walk met the recommendation[viii].
- Houses located in areas with above-average levels of walkability are worth up to $34,000 more than similar houses in areas with average walkability levels.[ix].
- C. communities, including the City of Rock Hill, have adopted a Bike and Pedestrian Plan to ensure safe and accessible transportation options for everyone[x].
A documented bicycle, pedestrian and trail master plan is key to understanding and implementing standards. Planners must ensure that any time roads are built, repaired and considered, the review include bike lanes, trails and sidewalks. Specifically, they should complete loops, identify future trails, and ensure safe connections between destinations (e.g., schools, parks, restaurants and businesses).
We appreciate that Mayor David O’Neal signed the South Carolina Livable Communities Alliance which supports the planning, designing, operation, and maintenance of public highways in a manner that provides safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their transportation mode. As the city of Tega Cay updates its Comprehensive Plan over the next year and seeks public input, we encourage residents to keep connectivity, walkability and an active and healthy community at the forefront of planning.
Elizabeth W. Duda, Chair, Eat Smart Move More York County; Tega Cay resident and parent; Tega Cay Healthy Kids
and Dr. David F. Keely, Advocacy Chair, Eat Smart Move More York County
[i] Dangerous by Design 2014: South Carolina, 2014, National Complete Streets Coalition.
[ii] SC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2015, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
[iii] “Adult Obesity in the United States,” 2015, State of Obesity website, 09/2016.
[iv] Study of Children Aged 10-17, 2011, Stat of Obesity website, 09/2016.
[v] Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2008, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.
[vi] Dangerous by Design 2014: South Carolina, 2014, National Complete Streets Coalition. Physical Inactivity in the United States,” 014, State of Obesity website, 09/2016. Bicycling and Walking in the United States Benchmarking Report, 2012, Alliance for Walking and Biking.
[vii] Palmetto Cycling Corporation citation
[viii] Palmetto Cycling Corporation citation
[x] See https://pccsc.net/bikeped-plans-policies/?fbclid=IwAR2T1MsQNdgVrV4fBUE16tkhGR_-AnNYmNmM_PqZkIVko6dY-EOZr8OKpuA