Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

Community What's Happening

VIDEO: Richland County Gets First Bike Boulevard to Help Increase Physical Activity

The Edgewood Neighborhood in Columbia is the first in the Midlands to get a bike boulevard. Located along a two-mile stretch of road near WA Perry Middle School down to Benedict College, the boulevard will help the community become more active.

A bike boulevard is usually located in a low traffic area and without a lot of cross traffic, making bike riding and walking safer. This work is a continuation of Healthy South Carolina Initiative efforts, known as the Active Community Environment Special Project.

Mary Roe with Eat Smart Move More Richland County and the Palmetto Conservation Foundation says that although the community is in an urban neighborhood, it’s an area that serves low-income families who rely on cars and public transit.

“This is really going to help the community feel that they have a choice now, that they don’t need to actually get in a car for taking their children to school, that they can use this for a form of recreation,” said Roe.

bike_boulevard

Edgewood was selected not only because of the need for the community to be physically active, but also because it had existing sidewalks and crosswalks in place, three schools in the areas and it’s part of Bike Walk Columbia’s Master Bike/Ped Plan.

“We reached out to county council and we really tried to assess the needs based on what they were doing,” said Roe. “They were doing a master plan at the time…really looking at the communities and trying to figure out what physical infrastructure there was relative to transportation, bus routes, sidewalks and things of that nature.”

Roe says having three schools on the boulevard and in close proximity to each other helps people start to think differently.

“If you start this at an elementary level, you want to be able to continue it all the way through…really change the way in which people think about being physically active in their community,” said Roe.

Eat Smart Move More Richland County is working with the City of Columbia on signs that will help cyclists and pedestrians identify points of interest and distance along the bike boulevard.

“This is a very simple, inexpensive way of actually engaging and encouraging citizens to come out and walk or bike and to exercise,” said Roe.

The boulevard will open in May during National Bike Month. Following the opening, the chapter will continue to engage residents through active living programs and opportunities.