Downtown Greenville transportation study completed

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) –  A months-long transportation study is now completed, and business owners in downtown Greenville are calling for solutions and more action by city and county leaders.

Earlier this year, business owners created the “Greenville Downtown Business Coalition” after employees started having issues getting to work. 

The study was given out from May 15 to June 8, and more than 1200 people responded. They spent the time after analyzing the data. 

The Coalition says they found out 92 percent of employees drive alone to and from work. The top concerns dealt with parking availability, parking cost, congestion, bus frequency, and hours of service for the bus.      

“We must rely on public transportation to solve the problem,” Jon-Michial Carter, the CEO of Chartspan and founder of the Coalition, said. “The problem is we don’t have a good public transportation system.”

Carter says the parking problem is hurting his business.

“We’ve had to outsource jobs to Colorado and Ohio,” Carter said.

He says the solutions they came up with out of the survey were building more parking garages, improving public transportation in the form of busing, or establish a park-and-ride. 

Carter says the business owners are frustrated with a lack of action from city and county leaders. 

“What we need is city and county councils to decide what option they want to embrace and fund, and that’s what we’re waiting for,” Carter said. 

However, leaders say they first have to fund a Greenlink shortage by Spring of next year. Between the city and county, leaders have to come up with $1 million to make sure Greenlink services continue to operate. However, they admit the past is playing a big role in the problems of the future. 

“Historically, the county may have not demonstrated as much interest in public transportation as it should have,” Ennis Fant, with the Greenville County Council, said.

Fant said they’re committed to doing more and said the most doable solution is a park and ride.

“We think that’s a great idea,” Fant said. “There’s been a few locations discussed.”

While most agree that’s just a short term fix, they said it’s a step.

We were told city and county councils will be meeting together about the topic in the next couple months.

Leaders said more parking garages are not the best option because it will cost the most to build, and a lot of hospitality workers cannot afford to pay to park.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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