RFATS Meets with Locals to Work on Transportation Study
The Rock Hill – Fort Mill Area Transportation Study is in full swing. On June 27th, RFATS hosted two workshops that were open to the public to submit ideas, suggestions, and to share concerns about biking and walking accessibility and safety in the tri-county area.
The workshops were hosted simultaneously at the Spratt Building in Fort Mill and at the York County Public Library in Lake Wylie. Rock Hill was not in the equation this round, and since the planning process only began this May, Rock Hill will hopefully be added as a meeting location for a future workshop or event.
It’s worth noting, however, that the planning will last a mere six months but will result in a full draft plan this October. The RFATS website offers public access to current documents showing progress of the draft plan, which is only one of the novel ways the study is interacting with the community.
Hands-on Contribution for Walker and Biker Networks
At the Fort Mill meeting, hosts were on hand to help attendees put their concerns on paper in the form of surveys and large maps to draw on.
The maps looked like works of art from the hearts and minds of citizens hoping for progress. Maps had countless scribbles like “walk to school” and multi-colored lines drawn up and down roads that otherwise are not pedestrian- or bicyclist-friendly.
Many people explained that roads in Rock Hill and Fort Mill lack things as simple as shoulders for foot traffic. Sidewalks are also not as common as one would assume, nor are they connected in a way that provides a fluid route for walkers and bicyclists. These are things people see in their neighborhoods every day, what better people to ask for input?
Since it remains illegal for bicyclists to use sidewalks, concerns for driver and biker education regarding safety and laws were among some of the top concerns indicated by Bingo-like stickers on the survey posters that were available throughout the workshop.
With development sweeping the upstate region, York County is experiencing a population growth that could undoubtedly help shape the future of bicycling and walking activity, whether those activities are for recreation or practicality.
The 2016 Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Connectivity Plan serves as a vehicle for citizens to give direct contribution to transportation and land use planning decisions for a safer, more accessible bicycling and walking network.
RFATS claims that this initiative will provide action-oriented guidance for local communities to advance their goals of walkability and bikeability.
It’s About Time
Something has been missing in the area for some time now that residents haven’t been able to put their fingers on and that something is a connected network of trails, paths, lanes, sharrows, greenways, and crosswalks that can bring communities, and ultimately the region, together.
RFATS openly admits on their website that with growth in the area, “cycling and walking were insufficiently considered”, but can be remedied. And thanks to observations of cycling and walking events in the area, the initiative is aiming to integrate these environmentally friendly and healthy transportation methods into mainstream of transportation planning.
By doing this, York County will not only connect within itself but to Charlotte as well. Since many S.C. residents commute to the big city for work, this would be the progressive overhaul the area needs to compete with other growing cities trying to distinguish themselves as pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
Want to be Part of the Solution?
Hosts from the workshop encouraged those who dropped in to share the word about their website so they can not only take a survey but add to the art of progress by digitally drawing routes, placing points, and adding comments to the map.
You can take the survey by clicking this link
CN2 News shared a video on Vimeo worth checking out and can be seen by clicking this link