Town pursuing roadway changes

  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Provided The Town Public Works Committee is pursuing adding a mid-block crosswalk to downtown Summerville, at the intersection of E. 2nd South Street and S. Main Street. This schematic, which shows the location of the proposed crosswalk, is being sent to SCDOT for approval.

Crosswalks, truck restrictions and possible median beautification will be coming soon to Summerville roads, the Town Public Works Committee discussed last week.

On May 7 the group discussed adding crosswalks on S. Main Street near Town Hall.

The proposed crosswalk would be installed mid-block, near the intersection of S. Main and E. 2nd South Street.

The Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has to approve the crosswalk placement, but Director of Public Works Russ Cornette said the town has a “decent shot of getting approved” because of the high pedestrian traffic in the area on Saturdays for the Farmers’ Market.

The committee members expressed concern for public safety and whether the crosswalk would help or hinder it.

Town Councilman Bob Jackson said the crosswalk is a concern for him because there will be no traffic control efforts, such as a stop sign or traffic light, installed with it. “Drivers are not expecting pedestrians to walk out in the middle of the block,” he said.

Cornette had similar concerns: “I don’t want to create a false sense of security for pedestrians that a white line will save their life because it’s not.”

But the committee chairman, Councilman Terry Jenkins, said the similar crosswalk on E. Richardson Ave. can be used as an example.

“We have one there and by and large motorists abide by it.”

A schematic has been sent to SCDOT with details of the proposed crosswalk. Once approved, the Town can move forward with its installation.

Related to traffic, the committee also discussed adding truck restrictions on certain roads in the historic district.

After recently making S. Magnolia and S. Gum streets prohibited to thru-trucks, the Public Works Department looked for other streets to add to the list, Cornette said. In the process, which consisted of monitoring complaints from residents, Marion Avenue and Richardson Avenue were both identified as historic streets that could be added to the ordinance.

On a motion by Councilman Bill McIntosh the committee voted to recommend first reading of adding the streets to the truck restriction ordinance.

Also related to road construction, Councilwoman Kima Garten-Schmidt brought to the committee’s attention the possibility of installing and beautifying medians along Bacons Bridge Road as the roadway is reconstructed.

“My residents are just so concerned it’s going to look like Trolley Road when it’s done and they don’t want it to look like Trolley,” she said.

Currently in the SCDOT construction plan there is a center turning lane, also known as a suicide lane, on the length of the road. The councilwoman asked Cornette if there could be any areas identified where medians with trees could be updated or created to add more curb appeal to the project.

Cornette said there are sections in the right-of-way on the road exterior that plants and landscaping could be added, and he wasn’t sure how much of the plan and finances could be changed now that the project is approved and underway.

Councilman Jackson, whose district includes Old Trolley Road, agreed with the idea to install medians and suggested the Town pursue the changes.

“I just think we as a town should have a little more of an input,” Councilwoman Garten-Schmidt said.

The committee adjourned after agreeing the Public Works Department will investigate making the suggested changes.

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