SCDOT adopts Complete Streets policy

Yesterday, SCDOT announced adoption of their Departmental Directive for Complete Streets (their press release here). Read the policy here.

Since 2017, the PCC advanced a coalition campaign for the state Complete Streets policy through the SC Livable Communities Alliance. In 2017, we first presented the alarming safety data with partners CCL and AARP. In 2018, we worked directly with SCDOT to discuss paths forward, while serving on the Multimodal (Ped/Bike) Advisory Committee with Alliance partners. This led to advancing consideration of several of the elements seen in the adopted policy today. That year, and in 2019, we directly advocated to the state legislature (H.3656 – Pendarvis) and SCDOT commission for every reason the policy was important to various constituencies, while aggregating that support into a giant State Policy Letter of Support. And finally in 2020, we worked directly with the Secretary as she began drafting her Departmental Directive, providing input on policy best practices and local needs from municipalities and counties. While not perfect, we feel the policy is a huge step forward for South Carolina.

We believe the following final policy elements will directly aid in the improved safety, health, equity, environment, and economics of our state, and we appreciate SCDOT taking the lead with this statewide policy:

  • improved local project engagement opportunities, via a 3 year candidate repaving list (primary routes only);
  • improved long term engagement with statewide constituencies with a Complete Streets Council;
  • improved project development, placing non-motorized accommodation consideration prior to budgeting, reversing a previous process;
  • enabled implementation, creating a sustainable and common sense approach (the words of the Secretary) to accommodate the safety and access needs of people biking and walking, by prescribing “how” each funding stream will implement the Directive;
  • improved planning through established planning guidelines, which will be used as SCDOT works with local MPO’s and COG’s as they develop local regional plans;
  • prescribed sources of innovative designs SCDOT is willing to discuss as cities and towns innovate for improved safety;
  • and finally, a culture of non-motorized safety (in addition to motorized safety) is emerging throughout SCDOT, and this is evident inside and outside the policy.

The PCC is grateful for the positive communications with the SC Livable Communities Alliance of dozens of advocacy organizations and 25 mayors, SCDOT various staff and leadership in every department, Representative Pendarvis and members of the 2019 – 2020 House E&PW Transportation subcommittee, SCDOT Commissioners McLawhorn and Robbins, and finally Secretary Christy Hall. Great things happen with leadership. We look forward to continuing these conversations.

Amy Johnson Ely

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