CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The state department of transportation is announcing a new directive to create safer roadways for everyone.
SCDOT is adopting a “Complete Streets” policy that requires consideration of accommodations for bicycling, walking, and transit that could be established in the state-owned highway system.
The department will work with the state’s regional transportation partners and transit providers to identify the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and people who rely on bus transportation.
They will then figure out ways to incorporate them into different plans.
“The goal of the policy is to make our highway system safe and accessible to all users, drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit riders,” SCDOT Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said. “Proper planning is key to ensuring that the appropriate level of multimodal accommodations is provided in the right context, on the right project, and in the right manner to meet the needs of the community.”
State Rep. Marvin Pendarvis filed a “Complete Streets” bill in 2019 that urged the DOT to find ways to make sure roads in South Carolina are safe for all users.
He said the policy adopted was a result of working together with the department throughout the last couple of years. Although the policy was adopted without the need of a bill, Pendarvis said it was big push in the right direction.
“Being able to have a department update their policies and update their directives to reflect that says a lot about their commitment to being responsive to what we felt like was needed to be done in South Carolina,” Pendarvis said.
Preliminary data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety shows that 180 pedestrians and 14 bicyclists have died on state highways and roads in 2020.
Charleston Moves executive director Katie Zimmerman said the new policy sets an important tone about the state agency’s priorities.
“We have the fourth largest DOT in the nation as far as miles of roadway that they own and maintain, so they’re the ones who set the rules of the majority of bridges and roadways and paths,” she said. “For the agency to say it is important and it is vital that we are providing the space needed and protecting vulnerable road users through that space, them putting it on paper and committing to it, that sets the tone for the whole state.”