Pedestrian safety project in the works for busy trail crossing in Travelers Rest

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TRAVELERS REST, SC (WSPA)–A pedestrian safety project is in the works for a busy downtown intersection in Travelers Rest. The city will soon start the $150,000 improvement project that will redesign a crossing along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

“We’re excited to introduce a new safety project in downtown Travelers Rest. The project is focused on improving pedestrian cyclist safety and it’s going to introduce a new crosswalk at the intersection of Main Street and McElhaney. The crosswalk will be dedicated to pedestrians. So, it’s considered an exclusive pedestrian crossing. It will diagonally cross pedestrians from one side of 276 to the other side,” said Eric Vinson, City Administrator for Travelers Rest. “This is a very heavily or active area of town, and it is along the Swamp Rabbit Trail…It is one of the busiest crosswalks in all of Greenville County. Most heavily used section of the trail.”

“Cyclists go through stop signs, cars go through red lights all the time and it causes a lot of problems,” said Wayne Hollinger, a cyclist.

Now all cars will stop at the four way intersection as pedestrians cross.

“Right now, it’s a traditional crosswalk. What we’re going to be doing is just improving the safety and adding another option for pedestrians where they can cross over the intersection and cyclist, by a diagonal crosswalk. So, what they’ll do, basically stop all vehicle traffic, allow for pedestrians to cross diagonally from one corner to another, and it will basically be a much safer crossing option,” Vinson said. “It’s a pedestrian scramble,” Vinson said. “It is unique application. There’s not many of them being implemented around the state.”

Some people said the new plan will be a relief, since right now, it’s difficult to continue on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

“And you’ll be able to cross one time, instead of trying to navigate two times, and it might be easier and better understanding,” Hollinger said.

“I think it’s going to keep them safer,” said Rebecca Bolich, Sales Associate at Sunrift Adventures. “By there being a diagonal crosswalk, that’s going to help citizens that are on bicycles that actually pay attention to the light and care.”

Bolich said she typically hears the chaos outside the windows.

“I think it’s super well intentioned because we have seen some pretty horrific tragic accidents of cyclist getting hit by cars,” Bolich said.

Vinson said he’s not aware of any reported accidents involving pedestrians within the last three years, but the city wants to be proactive.

“The city is always proactive in improving its pedestrian safety, and we want to encourage people to come and enjoy our downtown, and this project was identified in a plan that was done in 2018, and it was identified proactively as a pedestrian enhancement safety project, so that we would make sure that we’re making sure that we’re addressing that could be a problem,” Vinson said.

For those worried about traffic at the intersection, the city will add an additional turning lane on Center Street.

“In addition to the pedestrian crossing, we will be adding an additional turn lane on Center Street,” Vinson said. “That’s one thing that the traffic study recommended, is that we look at better moving vehicles through the intersection as well. So, the intersection improvement is going to be more than adding the crosswalk, it will improve the turning movements and options for vehicles,” Vinson said.

“Hopefully, we can do it in a way that will be helpful, that will assist all of us trying to get our exercise or the kids playing and also the traffic,” said Carla Gunter, a walker.

Vinson said the city will enhance landscaping at the new crosswalk. Vinson also said new traffic signals will go up on the existing poles.

Vinson said construction is set to start in about six to eight weeks, and shouldn’t take long to complete.

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