Sunday, November 30, 2014

Taking to Two Wheels Together

This Thanksgiving we hosted my brother and his girlfriend. I had a fun time showing off the highlights of the Upstate:  downtown Greenville, a winning Clemson Tiger football team and enjoyable bike riding. They are avid cyclists, and enjoy biking in rides across the country. They brought their bikes with them from Mississippi, and we managed to squeeze in some two-wheel time.

Taking a two-wheel tour of the Upstate
My brother and I grew up as athletes. I was older, and led the way with competing on various swimming, softball and basketball teams. He also became an accomplished athlete, and encouraging each other to succeed and bonding through our similar athletic experiences was one way that we bonded as kids. As we've gotten older, both of us have gotten into biking. Though we bike for different reasons - I enjoy commuting and am just getting into longer, recreational rides, and he's just the opposite - its brought another dimension into our relationship. Being able to take a bike ride over the holidays together was a special experience since we don't get to spend a lot of time together throughout the year.

We spent some time on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and also took a ride to appreciate the mountains along Belle Shoals Road in Six Mile. There's nothing like riding with views of open fields and the Blue Ridge mountains during the holidays. The ride gave us time to reflect, laugh and share.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my brother and his girlfriend over the holidays. Being able to ride together was icing on the cake...or whip cream on the pumpkin pie. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round

Here's an interesting take on the best roundabout designs for bicyclists from the Netherlands that came through my inbox. I think this article is well worth the read as state DOT's are considering, designing, engineering and implementing roundabouts in states across the country, including in South Carolina.

In the Upstate, there are places where roundabouts have been designed with bicyclists in mind using a variety of standard practices. Here's a photo of a roundabout in Greenville, South Carolina (near Woodruff Road, on Carolina Point Parkway). There are several signs to help a variety of users navigate the facility.

SC Roundabout
 And here's another in Asheville, North Carolina with less signage, but on a neighborhood street designed for lower vehicle speeds and less traffic volume.

NC Roundabout
 Both of these try to incorporate design for bicyclists, but may fall short, according to the article.
Being a part of APBP (that's the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals), there's an email listserve where folks share and discuss current best (and worst) practices in design and development from across the country and in the world. Thanks to being a part of this great group, I'm able to stay tuned to discussions on best practices, and try to bring the best to South Carolina's Upstate.

If you've ridden around any roundabouts, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what worked well and what fell short.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Upstate News Update, Fall 2014

Welcome to November. I have been a bit busy lately, so please forgive the slack in posting. However, there has been and continue to be some great things happening in the Upstate as 2014 continues on. Let's get right to what's the latest in the Upstate.

SC Rolling Bike Summit. The PCC will bring folks in communities together throughout the state during the state's first bike summit. Two years ago PCC joined with Georgia Bikes to put on the Georgia-lina Bike Summit. Next week, November 17 - 21, the Summit will spend two nights in the Upstate. On Monday November 17, the Summit kickoff's in Greenville, and Tuesday November 18 the conference rolls into Spartanburg. It's open to everyone, and hope to see you out there!

The City of Spartanburg has been busy! In early October, Partners for Active Living met with the City Council to discuss the next steps in expanding trail development in the area. Of the $750,000 set aside for bicycle and pedestrian paths, $650,000 has yet to be allocated to future projects. The City has also continued working on plans for the Northside. The Northside Initiative Master Plan is a powerful project that calls for the transformation of the community. Some of the plans include taking "Nasty Branch" creek and turning it into Butterfly creek with an adjacent greenway, the reinvention of Pearl Street with bike lane installations, the better connections between the Northside, Wofford College and Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.

The City of Anderson unveiled it's master plan this past September for more bicycle and pedestrian paths. The proposed trails would connect key places in the city like Anderson University, the AnMed Health Medical Center, the AnMed Health North Campus, the  Recreation Center, the Westside Community Center and several of the city parks. This plan would be the next level of improvements and connections beyond a few existing greenways in the city. Check out these renderings and images for some great visuals for the future improvements.

Greenville County Penny Sales Tax Vote. Disappointingly, it did not pass when folks went to the polls on November 4. The referendum would have helped improve county roads, sidewalks and bike lanes across Greenville County. Getting national support from People for Bikes and The Alliance for Biking and Walking, there was a great moment for the Upstate of South Carolina to shine. However, there were a few holes, including a major one that did not exclude groceries from the sales tax, that the voters could not overlook.

I've also spent the last 6 months getting familiar with twitter. For the latest events, news stories or to join in the conversation, you can follow me at BikingintheUpstateSC. I look forward to carrying the conversation further with you! Feel free to say hello!

If there's anything else that has gone on in the Upstate that I missed or any future events, please feel free to post in the comments below.