Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bike Lanes in Clemson?

Last week Thursday, I attended the second evening of the Clemson Area Congregations in Touch (CACIT) Lay Academy series. This year, the three night series is titled “The Challenge of Caring for Our Environment," based on the idea of environmental stewardship, from a faith-based perspective. CACIT is an organization that has been around since the 1970’s, and is an organization where members of different faith communities come together to discuss issues, provide services and take action in the Upstate. I was asked to join the organization this past fall.

The evening’s discussions was about the “Community” and environmental stewardship. The Mayor of Clemson, Mayor Larry Abernathy, spoke about his efforts in greening the City of Clemson, as well as the development of the “Green Ribbon Committee.” I enjoyed his talk, especially since I was not familiar with many of the environmental efforts of the City. 

Ever since I heard about the PELCOR initiative, I have been thinking about the lack of bicycle infrastructure in Clemson and Central. I have also been wondering about the potential for a trail that connects Greenville to Clemson, and to points beyond. So, I seized the moment! I asked the Mayor:

  1.  Is there an bicycle and/or pedestrian initiative in the City, including those that would incorporate the efforts of Greenville, Pickens, Easley and Liberty?
  2.  Are there any plans to improve the infrastructure between Clemson and Central?
He gave me an interesting answer: he said that the DOT told him that this was the only city in South Carolina that NEEDS bike lanes. Apparently in the recent past, a member of the South Carolina Department of Transportation contacted the Mayor to take a tour of the City. They toured the City, but there wasn’t a set agenda, and there wasn’t a lot of discussion during the visit. The Mayor said that this seemed to be a pretty low-key day.

After they were finished, the DOT employee told the Mayor that there were many cities across the state that wanted bike lanes. (This was encouraging to me!) But this was the only city that needed bike lanes.
Okay, so maybe this makes a great story. And maybe this wasn’t the exact conversation, but I found this answer insightful because:
  1. The Mayor recognizes the need for better bicycle infrastructure.
  2. Other communities in the state are demanding better biking amenities. 
  3. The Mayor has the ear of the DOT, which is critical to implementing any improvements along highways 123 and 93.
So, it seems that there is hope for improving the bike amenities in the City of Clemson (though no mention of anything with Clemson University). 

And, if you’re interested in attended the third session of the CACIT Lay Academy Series, you’re invited! It’s on Thursday, February 10 at the Methodist Church in Clemson (300 Frontage Road). Light refreshments are served, and the series is free. Hope to see you there!

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