SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Simpsonville leaders said they’re working to improve the flow of traffic through the city and they’re closing a popular residential road on Wednesday.
“Simpsonville has been working on a traffic realignment project as a part of our downtown revitalization program, and the Hunter Street closure is a part of that,” said Simpsonville Mayor Paul Shewmaker.
Starting Wednesday, Hunter Street will become a dead end where it meets Jonesville Road.
“League Estates is an old neighborhood, with residential streets, very narrow streets and it’s really a safety concern and a safety concern that’s exacerbated by just the sheer volume of traffic,” said Shewmaker.
The closure will cut off drivers who use Hunter Street to avoid driving through downtown.
“There are people who use this as a way to avoid the traffic and lights in downtown Simpsonville and it’s not just people on their regular commutes. It’s the delivery trucks like Amazon and FedEx, and contractors pulling their equipment, and tractor trailers. They’re all using these little streets as if they’re major thoroughfares or arterial roads,” said Shewmaker.
Shewmaker said earlier this year he talked with neighbors and the city held public hearings. He said he heard a lot of support for the change and some complaints about how the shutdown could create inconveniences for drivers. He said safety was a big priority in city council’s decision to close the street.
“It gives them back their neighborhood, they’re right now afraid to take a walk in the evening or let their children play in their front yard,” said Shewmaker.
Shewmaker also said this closure isn’t the only traffic change coming to Simpsonville.
“We have a lot of things going on with our downtown realignment and our downtown revitalization. It’s going to come in phases,” said Shewmaker.
He said, eventually, people will start to see changes on College, Maple, and Curtis Streets too.
“The next thing that will happen is some changes over on East Curtis Street, a new traffic light going in and a rearrangement to the lanes over there,” said Shewmaker.
Shewmaker said the project on Curtis Street will likely start in June and take 18 months to complete.
He also said landscape medians on Main Street would be removed and College and Curtis Streets would be converted into one-way roads. He said these projects will make commutes smoother and improve the downtown area for people who live and visit Simpsonville.
“For me, it’s not a project to help people get through Simpsonville faster, that’s not what we’re out to do. We want this to be a place to come to, not a place to pass through,” said Shewmaker.
A city spokesperson said the Hunter Street closure was intended to be permanent, but said some city council members requested it be reconsidered. He said a discussion will likely be on the January meeting agenda. He said council will be able to consider the impact of the closure and community members will have an opportunity to share their thoughts.
A full statement is below:
The City of Simpsonville is moving forward with the closure of Hunter Street on Nov. 23 in accordance with a unanimous vote by Simpsonville City Council to approve a traffic realignment project that includes the street closure.
The reasons for closing Hunter Street are the unsafe conditions caused by the high volume of traffic that uses the League Estates neighborhood on Pliney Circle to travel from North East Main Street to Jonesville Road; lack of purpose of the street except for bypassing the North East Main Street traffic light and expected positive impact that the traffic realignment plan will have on the downtown area.
In response to feedback from Simpsonville residents, City Council is expected to discuss the Hunter Street closure, including its impact, at the Committee of the Whole meeting in January.”– City of Simpsonville