Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice

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Complete Streets in Anderson, SC

Complete Streets Move Anderson, SC towards a Healthier, More Livable Community

“Authorities are seeking the driver of a vehicle that hit and killed a pedestrian late Friday and then fled the scene of the crash.  Jessica Evans, 26, is the 3rd pedestrian killed in Horry County in the last 10 days.”  “Two men have been killed while crossing a highway in Charleston.”  “A South Carolina man has been arrested in a hit-and-run that killed a man on a bicycle.”  Headlines like these are not uncommon in South Carolina.
Sprawling communities have become dangerous and inconvenient places to walk, bicycle, and/or take transit.  In the five-year period, 2003 –2007, there were 4,578 traffic crashes in South Carolina that involved at least one pedestrian.  From 2003-2007, only 8 out of 46 counties had higher pedestrian crashes than Anderson County.

Complete Streets represent an innovation in traditional road construction philosophy by requiring all road construction and improvement projects to evaluate how the right of way will provide safe transportation options.  Streets should transport people, not just motor vehicles.

In the spring of 2009, Eat Smart, Move More SC partnered with the Palmetto Cycling Coalition and SC DHEC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity to pilot a Complete Streets initiative in selected SC communities.  Anderson, SC was selected to work with DHEC’s Physical Activity Consultant,  DHEC Region 1 and a variety of community partners to host a 4-hour training session to educate the municipality on the importance of implementing a Complete Streets policy, the benefit to the local community and how to advocate to adopt a Complete Streets Resolution.  Additional workshops took place in Rock Hill, Conway and Summerville.

After the Anderson training, a core group of community advocates formed the Anderson Complete the Streets committee with the goal of working with the city and county to promote, design and build streets, trails and greenways that are accessible for all users.  Both the City and County of Anderson passed Complete Streets Resolutions that call for city and county staff to “plan for, design, construct, and operate all new transportation improvement projects to provide appropriate accommodation for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and persons of all abilities.”
Holt Hopkins, the county’s transportation director and Interim Assistant Administrator, said the change would not force the county to do anything but would send a message that the county is dedicated to non-car road use.  “We’re trying to bring awareness to the need,” he said. Hopkins stated “approving the resolution could open doors to some federal grants.”  He said his staff would look at integrating Complete Streets for any major transportation project.

In addition to the resolutions, the Anderson Complete the Streets committee in conjunction with the city and county host an annual bike event in September and sponsor bike month events in May.  Downtown Anderson has built many complete streets during its revitalization plan. The city has also prioritized funding for a five-mile pedestrian greenway.

Contact: Jay Daniels, MPH, Healthy Communities Consultant, or
S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
1800 St. Julian Place, Columbia, SC 29204