Plan will make Williamston more bike, pedestrian friendly

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As part of Envision Williamston

By David Meade

Jean Crowther of Alta Planning and Design recently presented a bicycle and pedestrian Master Plan as part of the Envision Williamston process underway for the town.

The plan envisions a connected network of on and off street bikeways, walkways and trails that will provide safe and family friendly access between neighborhoods and other communitydestinations for all ages and abilities. “The end goal is to provide more choices for residents and visitors,” Crowther said.

According to Crowther, one in three families in the Williamston area have access to only one vehicle and twenty-five percent of the population is under fourteen years of age. The research shows Williamston could benefit from having additional sidewalks, bike lanes and paths for the public to use, she said.

The plan covers eight areas to help make Williamston a walk and bike friendly community. Included are: Vision and goal of the plan,; Existing conditions analysis; Policy recommendations, Program recommendations; Network recommendations, and Implementation plan.

In addition to specific recommendations and estimated costs, it includes possible funding sources. There is also a section explaining bike facility design guidelines.

The plan complements existing assets of the town including Mineral Spring Park and an existing greenway, Main Street Williamston and District One schools. It also includes recommendations for connecting with Pelzer and West Pelzer.

“When realized, this plan will enhance the economic vitality, cultural assets and overall health and well-being of Williamston and its residents,” Crowther said.

According to Crowther, recent input sessions reflect that residents want the opportunity to walk and bike and they want to see safer intersections.

For pedestrians the plan recommends new sidewalks, filling in gaps in sidewalks, sidewalk improvements and better intersection treatments such as bulbouts and striping.

For cyclists, the plan calls for a combination of bike facilities including striped bike lanes, buffered bike lanes between roadway and sidewalks, and cycle tracks located between vehicle parking and sidewalks and bicycle parking.

The Alta Master Plan recommends 20.9 miles of new sidewalks and almost 40 miles of a combination of other marked or designated bike lanes/paths along existing roads.

The recommendations are primarily in the downtown area, spreading out and connecting to nearby schools and then to Pelzer and West Pelzer.

Crowther pointed out four primary areas that need to be addressed:

Academy Street needs sidewalks and striping to make it safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

East Main Street could easily be marked for bike lanes on each side due to the wide roadway, she said. The lanes would also provide additional buffer space for pedestrians using the sidewalks currently in place.

Hamilton to Palmetto Middle, especially from Roberts Boulevard to Depot Road could be a safe biking corridor with marking, she said.

The fourth recommendation, which has been discussed by town officials in the past as a way to alleviate some school traffic on Main St., is an extension of Cherokee Road from Mauldin Street to Prince Street. The extension creates a cut-through to West Main St. and “a safe and inviting intersection that could encourage private development,” according to Crowther.

Policy Recommendations

In preparing for the future and to make Williamston bike and pedestrian friendly, the plan recommends the town have policies that require pedestrian and bicycle facilities for any new development or redevelopment, bike path requirements and limit curb cuts.

Also improved sidewalk maintenance policy and procedures, developer road requirements, and have site plans consider pedestrians and bikes, sidwalks retrofit and infill program and policy.

Program Recommendations

Program Recommendations include working with the Safe Routes to School program and implement bike and walk friendly community programs; create a bike and walking map; form an active older adult walking program and create an advisory committee.

Priority Projects

The plan lists ten priority projects with detailed recommendations for sidewalks and bicycle related lanes and facilities. Total estimated cost for the projects is $8,110,000.

Top 10 priority projects recommended by the Alta Master Plan include:

Greenville Drive – Constructing just over a half mile of sidewalks on both sides of Hwy. 20 (Greenville Drive) from Hamilton St. to town limits. Estimated cost is $2.146 million.

Academy St. – Constructing approximately 3/4 mile of sidewalk with a bike boulevard along Academy Street from Main St., to the town limit. Estimated sidewalk cost $1.442 million. Estimated boulevard marking, $35,000;

Minor Street – Sidewalk/shared use path, .61 mile, along Minor St to Middleton Boulevard, $366,000.

East Main – Bike lane and lane reduction (road diet) .4 miles on E. Main St.from Hamilton St. to Mill St., at a cost of $30,000.

Mineral Spring Greenway – A shared use path. of .83 miles from Minor St. to the Palmetto School Campus. Estimated cost of $498,000.

Hamilton Street – Recommends Cycle tracks and lane reduction (road diet) . 46 miles along Hamilton St. from Roberts Boulevard to Depot Road, cost $74,000.

New .08 mile road from Mauldin to Prince with bike lanes and sidewalk on both sides. The project will require an engineering study for an estimate.

Anderson Drive to Beaverdam Rd. – The plan recommends .92 mile of sidewalks on both sides at a cost of $3.402 million and bike lanes and buffered bike lanes at a cost of $67,0000.

Intersection improvements at Roberts Boulevard and Hamilton near the schools. Estimated cost of $50,000.

The recommendations are another part of the Envision Williamston Master Plan process which recently included a presentation on building facades, street and gateway improvements and other recommendations for key property owners in the town.