Bike Friendly Rock Hill

Mayor Echols kicks off the workshop.
He then stayed and participated all day!

On Wednesday, we facilitated a Bicycle Friendly Community Workshop with the League’s Bill Nesper in Rock Hill. The session was packed with a diverse mixture of city and county officials, bike club members, local and state planners and university employees. Over the course of the day, we discussed the progress Rock Hill has made, the state bicycling scene, and the national efforts, including the League’s requirements for a Bicycle Friendly Community. The application judges cities on the “Five E’s”: education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation.

As we learned Wednesday and during our tour of the area on Tuesday, Rock Hill already has a lot going for it. In terms of engineering, there are already miles of separated bike paths that link parks and popular destinations, including Winthrop farm. For enforcement, the city has already drafted a letter for an incident reporting hotline that will send an informative warning to people reported to be breaking the bike laws. With an active bike club and the new cycling complex at the Riverwalk development, Rock Hill has convenient ways to reach the public for the purposes of education, especially if the city works with Safe Routes to School to teach children to ride safely. It doesn’t take much to encourage cycling in Rock Hill, especially with the many Olympic-level facilities, including the Girodana Velodrome and the single track course; certification classes are already filling up quickly at the velodrome and will ideally encourage people to ride off the track as well. To allow the city to evaluate its progress and plan for future growth, the maps of existing trails that drew a lot of attention during the workshop are a good start to see how much infrastructure is on the ground and spot the gaps and opportunities for connecting it all.

During the breakout sessions, participants broke into groups based on the Five E’s and had a chance to talk about what they have done so far and ways they can improve and innovate. By looking to other BFCs and taking guidance from programs like USC’s Abandoned Bike Project, they were able to build a roadmap of goals to strive for and steps to get them through the application process. As many people said during the workshop, there is no one “silver bullet” to success- rather, there are numerous “silver BBs” that will work together to improve the city.

We thank Tom Bell, Susan Collier, Bill Nesper, Mayor Doug Echols and everyone that attended the session for all their hard work. Rock Hill plans to apply for BFC status in July, and we cannot wait to work with you and bring the League back for the award ceremony!

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