Representatives with the city of Greenville, Greenville County and the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) have teamed up to reveal plans for several road diets that could happen next year.
What’s a road diet?
Generally speaking, it is the removal of vehicle lanes from a road to allocate extra space for other uses such as parking, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and turn lanes.
Road improvement projects
SCDOT also presented a number of roads that were up for construction in the city and county next year. The roads in question are in poor or very poor condition. So far, SCDOT has put out bids but won’t have an idea of the cost until the bids come back in.
Jeffrey Hilderbran with Greenville Legislative Delegation Transportation Committee said the bids could be pricey, as road construction costs have risen with the price of oil and general inflation. He expects construction to begin next year.
The SCDOT’s website has a list of the number of roads up for construction here.
Road diets in Greenville
Meanwhile, city and SCDOT leaders presented four road diet proposals for the following streets:
- Grove Road
- Cleveland Street
- Elford Street
- Perry Road
In the case of these particular thoroughfares, a road diet refers to a reduction in lanes on a road while adding a center left-turn lane. It may also provide more space for pedestrians and bikers with a biking lane and wider sidewalks.
In addition, road diets can reduce traffic speeds through neighborhoods and lead to fewer traffic fatalities. The goal is to calm traffic and increase pedestrian safety.
Earlier this year, crews completed a road diet on Augusta Road that had an effect on slowing traffic and diverting it away from the street. Residents were generally happy with the road diet, as they expressed in a recent meeting.
City Councilman Russell Stall said he wasn’t sold on the idea of a road diet initially.
“(The Augusta Road diet) has turned out really, really well,” he said.
While it can often be hard to tell what the effect the road diets will have, Stall said he’s hoping the projects will be more visibly appealing as they’re the first things many people see when the enter the city.
More lanes than needed
The biggest problem with Augusta Road was the number of vehicles that passed through and the danger the congestion presented. The new road diet proposals, however, take aim at roads with more lanes than needed for the number of cars using the road. Residents expressed concern over the speeding in those areas — particularly when parents were walking children to school.
“This is what we’ve been trying to do for several years,” said Tee Thompson, a Perry Road resident.
In addition to removing a couple of traffic lanes, local leaders hope to reduce speed limits in these roads, add high-visibility crosswalks and ADA-compliant ramps.
Many of the projects remain in the initial planning stages with city leaders seeking out public input on what roads to tackle next. If the projects do get the green light, they’re looking to be completed sometime in middle or late 2023.
Those looking to take part in a road diet survey can click here.