Tega Cay Planning for Changing Mobility Patterns

Dec. 21 2020 (Tega Cay, SC) Eat Smart Move More York County (ESMMYC) was glad to be part of Tega Cay’s Health and Active Living focus group for the Comprehensive Plan update. ESMMYC chair Elizabeth (Liz) Duda, a Tega Cay resident, is very familiar with the city’s recreational amenities. Her family has biked to Tega Cay Elementary most Fridays since the school opened in 2014. After school, they stop at the Tega Cay Golf Club snack shack to buy ice cream (welcome after biking those two hilly miles!). On half days, they bike to Stonecrest Village for lunch. So Duda recognizes firsthand that safe cycling and pedestrian access are good – not just for physical and mental health and the environment – but also for economic development[1].

Catawba Regional COG’s Kara Drane and City of Tega Cay Planning and Development Manager Susan Britt at Community Outreach Meeting, 11/12/2019

Every five years, South Carolina municipalities review or update their Comprehensive Plans to determine resident, business and civic leader goals for community development. The plan guides decisionmakers in addressing the city or town’s physical, social and economic development. The City of Tega Cay updated its plan in 2019[2], led by Planning and Development Manager, Susan Britt. The update was useful given Tega Cay’s population and territory growth over the past decade. Responding to local demand, this 2025 update added a “Health and Active Living” element. Its purpose was to enhance and strengthen the overall physical and social well-being of the city’s residents. 

Kara W. Drane from the Catawba Regional Council of Governments (COG) worked with Ms. Britt to update Tega Cay’s comprehensive plan. In recognition of their creative approach to advancing regional economic development and improved quality of life, the Catawba Regional COG was awarded the 2020 Aliceann Wohlbruck NADO Impact Award.

The approach used an interactive mapping tool to communicate ideas and needs for walking and biking throughout the city. Input from residents was incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan to form a framework for biking and pedestrian infrastructure. This planning effort identified current conditions, gaps, and opportunities for both pedestrians and cyclists. An online Bicycle Pedestrian Data Viewer allowed residents to submit biking and walking details in a variety of ways. Residents submitted preferred routes, obstacles faced throughout the City while biking or walking, and “liked” comments to show popularity and consensus towards mobility routes and obstacles. This project has resulted in plan initiatives moving forward through private development projects, regional transportation grants, and strategic and small area plans. Drane presented Tega Cay’s Comprehensive Plan 2025 Update as a case study to the American Planning Association[3] in “Planning for Changing Mobility Patterns.”

Kara Drane, and Health & Active Living Focus Group Members Liz Duda, Kate Forbes and Rod Thompson at Community Outreach Meeting, 11/12/2019

Duda and her husband chose their house in Tega Cay because of its access to the valuable amenity – the Tega Cay walking trail. Some Tega Cay neighborhoods aren’t built for families to safely exercise or play in or along the streets, or for children to walk or bike to school safely. So this was why the Tega Cay Comprehensive Plan 2025 update was so important to her. Major topics in the plan’s Health and Active Living element were:

  • Invest in infrastructure and development of policies to support safe pedestrian and bicycle travel;
  • Neighborhood-scale mixed-use to promote health and active living opportunities;
  • Create connectivity between existing traditional neighborhoods and more recent developments as well as schools, parks, and other popular destination points;
  • Public education demonstrating direct link between health and community factors such as the physical environment, social engagement, and mental well-being;
  • Promote partnerships to create opportunities for healthy food and nutrition choices; and
  • Enhance opportunities for lifelong active and healthy living.

The Tega Cay Comprehensive Plan also included information from the Walkability Study that ESMMYC and the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control led in April 2019 around the future site of the city’s all-inclusive playground. Participants assessed the sidewalks, paved walking trails, crosswalks and overall experience.

ESMMYC is pleased to partner with our local municipalities including the City of Tega Cay and appreciates their efforts to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for all community members. We commend Susan Britt and Kara Drane for their hard work on the Tega Cay Comprehensive Plan and forward-thinking inclusion of the Health and Active Living Element.

[1] The Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville, SC, is an excellent example of economic development spurred by the trail.

[2] The City of Tega Cay Comprehensive Plan 2025 update was adopted January 27, 2020.

[3] Joint Chapter Conference 2020, hosted by the Alabama and Mississippi Chapters of the American Planning Association, December 7-11, 2020.

Contact: Elizabeth W. Duda, ESMMYC Chair