First bike boulevard in Midlands officially open
Eat Smart Move More (ESMM) Richland County and community partners participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 4th for a new bike boulevard, located in the Edgewood neighborhood in Columbia. The bike boulevard, located between W.A. Perry Middle School and Benedict College, provides a safe environment for youth and adults to enjoy cycling and walking. This boulevard will provide the Edgewood community with a safe route to schools, one college and several churches. The ribbon cutting was part of Edgewood’s National Night Out celebration at the Drew Wellness Center; more than 100 community members were in attendance.
“We value the significance of what the bike boulevard will do for our use and the endless possibilities for physical activity and community safety,” said Emma Myers, President of Columbia Council of Neighborhoods. “Our community is proud to be selected as the first bike boulevard community in Columbia.”
ESMM Richland County planned a bike boulevard with the help of an Active Community Environment (ACE) Special Project grant from SCDHEC. ESMM Richland County selected the Edgewood neighborhood for the bike boulevard. The neighborhood was selected because of low traffic along the two-mile stretch near downtown, low cross traffic and existing infrastructure that would make the transition cost effective. ESMM Richland County partnered with the City of Columbia and Walk Bike Columbia to make the bike boulevard possible. This initiative is part of the City of Columbia’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan.
“This is going to help the community feel that they have a choice now, that they don’t need to get in a car and take their children to school, that they can use this bike boulevard as a form of recreation,” said Natalie Britt, Co-chairman of the City of Columbia’s Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
With the help of the City of Columbia, directional signs have been placed along the bike boulevard, as well as sharrows, or road markings (painted bicycle) used to indicate a shared lane for bicycles and automobiles. Neighborhood children have already been spotted using the bike boulevard, and the City of Columbia plans to extend the bike boulevard to Martin Luther King, Jr Park later this year.