NOV 20, 2019, by Chris Clark
As we told you last month, at the SCDOT Commission meeting, Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall announced the development of a new Bike-Ped Safety Action Plan the department is developing. Though the department is still working on the details, she shared an outline of the plan along with several promising features.
“The process needs to be objective and analytical,” Hall begins, echoing the data-driven approach to projects the department has been touting. We agree with the department’s focus in pursuing an analytical, not political approach, especially if it helps address inequities in where safe streets are built.
She also emphasized the role of local municipalities in projects, “We need to make sure we’re applying the right fix at the right location and not using a cookie-cutter approach.” We’ve been advocating more local control and applaud this approach by the SCDOT.
According to Hall, the department will use a holistic and comprehensive approach at many levels. They will “incorporate [Complete Streets] into our formal design policy documents,” and “provide training to the staff. . . not only for DOT engineers but county, city, and consultant engineers.”
In addition to planning and engineering, we were glad to hear Hall emphasize the importance of community engagement, “outreach has to be a component of [Complete Streets implementation] just like all of our other safety programs.” The department will also address the challenge of funding. “We are going to reform the Transportation Alternatives program,” Hall said, “we need to leverage those funds to drive that investment.” Funding is often cited as a reason not to include complete streets treatments so this signals an important shift in SCDOT’s priorities.
Commission Chair Robby Robbins commended Secretary Hall’s presentation of the draft plan recognizing her for, “trying to formulate a plan that will actually reduce traffic fatalities and traffic injuries.”
We are eager to work with the Secretary and the Department to find out more details about the Bike-Ped Safety Action Plan and ensure it meets the needs of everyone who bikes and walks in South Carolina. To watch the video of Secretary Hall’s comments or testimony from Complete Streets supporters you can watch on our Youtube channel HERE.