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ACTION ALERT: Columbia Road Safety Audit!

APPENDIX A: Specific suggested improvements for Columbia’s 5 Points, on Harden, Devine, and Blossom Streets

Corridor Improvements: Road Diets

Why: A Road Diet greatly decreases crashes for all road users, especially those vehicles making left turns, by shepherding them into a middle lane.  It will also make the speed of vehicles in the through lanes steadier and slightly lower. Lastly, it will greatly reduce pedestrian & bike crashes, especially when paired with the new opportunity for pedestrian refuge islands and bike lanes (FHWA reference,FHWA-SA -17-066)

  1. On Devine and Harden, do a 4 to 3 lane conversion in the study area, NOT JUST the 5 points 1 block section. That middle lane will include a combination of left turn lanes and vegetated medians.  
  2. On Blossom near 5 points (Harden to Pickens), do a 4 to 2 lane conversion.  In the 4 to 2 conversion, add parking for Five Points Business Association, and put cycle tracks (see below) between cars & curb.
  3. On Blossom from Pickens to the river, do a 4 to 3 lane conversion.
  4. Replace Sewer grates along the bike lanes so grates are perpendicular to the roadway to prevent bikers from getting flat tires or crashing. 
  5. Remove the fence on Blossom @ Assembly, and institute other traffic control measures to reduce speed and nature of this “highway” through South Carolina’s flagship University.

Intersection Improvements: Roundabouts

Why: Roundabouts greatly reduce crashes and speeding at intersections, for all road users.  Reductions in crash rates at roundabouts averages, 52% decline, according to NACTO. They also improve Level of Service (flow), an important issue since the Road Diets were removed from safety consideration due to this.While improving Bike and pedestrian safety and connectivity on roadways.

  1. Put in roundabouts with bike lanes at:
    • Blossom @ Huger 
    • Devine @ Millwood, Adger, & Ott
    • Blossom @ Harden 
    • Blossom @ Assembly

Bike infrastructure:  corridors

 Why: WalkBikeColumbia Master plan calls for the inclusion of protected infrastructure in the areas. These recommendations will reduce accident rates, improve safety and connections between different parts of the city for bike riders along these routes. the protected bike infrastructure when placed between car parking and sidewalks increases bike lane usage significantly over unprotected bike lanes, reduces chance that people bike will be struck by someone exiting a vehicle, and provides increase safety and usability for people of all ages and abilities They will reduce conflict with other road users who are driving and improve traffic flows for all. 

  1. Provide bike lanes throughout Devine, as a complement to the road diet. Place bike lane between curb and parking. 
  2. Provide cycle tracks on Harden & Blossom, as a complement to the road diets.
  3. Provide protected or Buffered Bike lanes from Greene to Blossom, and consider reverse angle parking

Bike infrastructure – intersections

Why:  The suggested bike intersection improvements are at a minimal cost for the total project cost. The lack of bike activated lights at intersections leads to people seeing biking as inconvenient, a barrier to movement on par with vehicles, The inclusion of Bike activated lights improves connectivity for biker, pedestrians, and drivers by reducing wait times for all and improving traffic flows for all road users. Bike Boxes will allow bikers to transition safely from cycle tracks to side streets, improve visibility of bikers to drivers at intersections, provide a refuge when crossing intersections, and ensure bikers are given the appropriate priority when going through an intersection. 

  1. Add bike activated traffic signal technology at:
    •  Blossom @ Assembly
    • Devine @ Sims
    • Devine @ Ott/Adger/Millwood 
    • Devine @ Harden
    • Harden @ Greene 
    • Blossom @ Harden
    • Blossom @Saluda
    • Blossom @Sumter (our add)
    • Devine @ Maple
    • Devine @ Ott
    • Devine @ Holly
  2. Add Bike boxes, and apply green paint, at:
    • Devine @ Millwood & Adger & Ott (if roundabout not used)
    • Devine @ Harden
    • Blossom @ Main
    • Blossom @ Sumter, & Sumter @ Blossom
    • Harden @ Greene

Bike infrastructure – Other

Why:  By completing the connection of the bike lane over Blossom Street bridge to Huger street you will improve safety and connectivity for people biking  between Columbia, Cayce, and West Columbia. This will allow for residents in  Lexington county to bike to downtown Columbia, USC, and Five Points safely and more easily. It will provide improved bikes to access the Three Rivers Greenway. The greenway can than be used to  provide better access to jobs, business and housing in and around State Street in West Columbia and Cayce. 

  1. Accommodate the Lexington County, Cayce, Three River Greenway, by 
    • Extend the study area to the greenway just across the river
    • Extend the bike lane from the bike lane on the Blossom street bridge all the way to Huger Street

Pedestrian infrastructure:  Intersection and Mid-Block

Why:   Bump outs at intersections reduce pedestrian crossing distances and time spent crossing streets, it also reduces the speed at which drivers can make turns,improving safety for both people walking, biking, and driving and reduce crashes and conflicts between the different road users. Mid-block crossing improve connectivity, provides a a crossing between where people live

  1. Add bump outs at these intersection curbs, throughout Harden, Blossom, & Devine (with consideration for bike cut-throughs), at:
    • Blossom @ Barnwell
    • Blossom @ Henderson
    • Blossom @ Pickens
    • Blossom @ Bull
    • Blossom @ Harden, due to the immediate presence of a large elderly population regularly using this intersection.  Some are in wheelchairs and some have been hit.  
  2. Add Mid-block crossings at:
    • Blossom (Sumter to Bull)
    • Blossom (Henderson to Barnwell) 
    • Devine (Queen to Woodrow) 
    • Devine (Woodrow to Maple)
    • Devine (Sims to Ott/Adger/Millwod)
  3. Add pedestrian refuge islands to:
    • Blossom & Huger (4).  This can be done by removing the Huger right-hand turn lanes.
    • Blossom @ Williams (2)
    • Blossom @ Assembly (2)
    • Blossom @ Park (2)
    • Blossom @ Lincoln (2)
    • Blossom @ Gadsen (1 (east))
  4. . Improve un-signalized pedestrian intersections at these locations,
    • Devine @ King
    • Devine @ Queen
    • Devine @ Meadow
    • Devine @ Heidt

Pedestrian infrastructure – corridor segments

Why: The following areas will improve connectivity and provide equitable access for all ages and abilities, while maintaining safety for all. Reductions in hardscape will make the area more inviting to those biking and walking and make for a more inviting area to walk. Additionally, by pedestrianizing Santee street in Five Points, it will open opportunities for community events, provide additional opportunities for greenspace and business. Reduction in parking availability would be often by the road diet, allowing for additional parking elsewhere in the area and importantly more people biking and walking to local business due to the increased bikeability and walkability.

  1. Add sidewalk improvements to
    • Blossom (Huger to Pulaski)
    • Blossom (Pulaski to Wayne)
    • Blossom (Wayne to Lincoln)
    • Blossom (Lincoln to Park)
    • Blossom (Park to Main)
    • Blossom (Main to Henderson)
    • Blossom (Henderson to Devine) 
    • Blossom (Devine to right before Saluda) 
    • Devine (Harden to Santee) 
    • Devine (Olive to Kirkwood) 
    • Devine (Amherst to Amherst) 
    • Devine (Chatham to Millwood/Ott/Adger) 
  2. Decrease the hardscape nature of the big fence proposed on Harden, so it doesn’t look like what’s already in the Blossom urban highway in the city – which communicates social division.  
  3. Make Santee street (within 5 points) closed to pedestrian traffic only

Speed limits

Why: The above engineering changes are proven to reduce actual speeds – enough to warrant reducing the enforced speed (posted speed limit).  This will save lives, because pedestrians are 80% likely to die at an impact speed of 40mph, 40% likely to die at 30mph, and only 5% likely to die at 20mph (NHTSA).  Further, the Blossom RSA study already said the average speeds were already lower than the posted speed limit.

  1. Reduce posted speed limits, after the above engineering modifications are made, by modifying posted speed to the 50th percentile speed, not the 85th (as justified in this FWHA “proven safety countermeasure”), because this countermeasure is tied to improved non-motorized safety, especially when there is documented, heavy non-motorized use. The map of pedestrian injuries supports that.   Suggested changes are::
    • Blossom can reduce its posted speed limit to 25-30mph, down from the existing 35mph.  No major university should have a 35mph highway bisecting it.  Saluda should be a Pedestrian / Bike Priority Zone
    • Devine can reduce its posted speed limit to 25mph, down from the existing 30 and 35mph.
    • Harden can reduce its posted speed limit to 20mph, down from the existing 25mph
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