RiverWalker

Church Street Bridge: Replace, Rehab or Remove?

Recommended Posts

I was going to post this in the Traffic Congestion, Road Construction, & Improvement Projects thread, but then I thought better of it and decided that it needed a thread of its own.

Two weeks ago, the City of Greenville was considering asking the state to add bike lanes to the Church Street bridge while it was undergoing rehabilitation. Now the rehab is being delayed because the bids came in higher than expected, and Sen. William Timmons has floated the idea that maybe the bridge should be removed altogether, putting surface streets with grade-level intersections in its place.

http://greenvillejournal.com/2017/03/01/senator-wants-dot-explore-permanently-removing-church-street-bridge/

The article mentions several other cities around the country that have removed elevated arteries. It states that motorists quickly adjusted by finding alternative routes to avoid the resulting congestion. However, I suspect those cities already had suitable alternatives, and I'm not sure that Greenville is so fortunate as to have other streets that can handle the 25,000 to 26,000 cars a day that travel up and down Church Street through the city.

What do y'all think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I would like it, it basically as is saves three lights for a commuter - Camperdown, Broad and McBee. I would be most worried about McBee getting more traffic but it could help congestion if some people turn there towards Laurens to get on 385. I know they could now but the loop and left turn probably deter most. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first thought as someone who drives Church St every day is that I wouldn't be crazy about adding more traffic signals to the route, but it might not be that bad if they were well synchronized along the whole stretch.  My only frustration with the redo of Church St towards Augusta St is the new signal at Pearl St when you just get going from one light and the next one turns red.  I think it could definitely help to give options for drivers coming into downtown to divert off onto other side streets sooner, and eliminate some of the backup that takes place on the bridge at Washington St.  Might just have more of an effect on traffic passing through.  If only we could do something like Boston's big dig, and have a tunnel below Church St for through traffic, with surface streets above.

If they thought traffic was going to be bad when going to one lane each way during the rehabilitation of the bridge, I can't imagine what they would do while removing it.  I wonder if it's even possible to leave it partially open during construction, or if it would have to be completely closed while it was removed and new streets built.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely against removing the bridge. The backups would be awful especially at certain times. Not to mention removing a very nice view!!

Edited by apaladin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, apaladin said:

The backups would be awful especially at certain times.

The backups are already bad at certain times.  At least there could be the option of getting off Church St onto some of the underutilized roads, instead of being on the bridge stuck in traffic with no way to get off.  Obviously there would have to be a significant traffic study done before doing something that dramatic, but the impact would need to be studied before just making the assumption that traffic would be awful.  It may end up not making sense, but it doesn't hurt to explore the option.  There was significant opposition to removing the Camperdown bridge over the falls, with people also worried about traffic, but I don't think anyone would question that decision today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would be against it. This idea currently works on Academy (also an artery) because there are many more alternate routes on streets with turn lanes and higher speeds (and not in a residential area, for the most part).

No such immediate alternates on the Church Street side. What are you going to use to get to 385 or 185? Cut through to downtown (more lights and more traffic)? Use McDaniel Ave. from Augusta to Washington St.?, You can't use Cleveland Ave. / Jones Ave. without needing to cut over to McDaniel/Washington to access 385. And it's all already backed up now at the rush hours. Additionally, residents already frequently complain about speeding traffic on residential side streets. 

Traffic needs to flow unobstructed as much as possible, with less lights and not more, from the southern downtown to the 385 intersection (especially if the County Square becomes fully developed). Removing the bridge will turn Church St. into Woodruff Rd. because the alternate routes will be just as crowded. 

My wish is that traffic from coffee st. and washington st. would be precluded from turning left and a dedicated right turn lane would be at Church / E. North connecting church to 385. This would keep traffic moving from University Ridge to 385 in a more reasonable fashion. Maybe ask the drivers heading East on Washington to adjust and find an alternate route during rush hour, too. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

52 minutes ago, FUgrad02 said:

I would be against it. This idea currently works on Academy (also an artery) because there are many more alternate routes on streets with turn lanes and higher speeds (and not in a residential area, for the most part).

No such immediate alternates on the Church Street side. What are you going to use to get to 385 or 185? Cut through to downtown (more lights and more traffic)? Use McDaniel Ave. from Augusta to Washington St.?, You can't use Cleveland Ave. / Jones Ave. without needing to cut over to McDaniel/Washington to access 385. And it's all already backed up now at the rush hours. Additionally, residents already frequently complain about speeding traffic on residential side streets. 

Traffic needs to flow unobstructed as much as possible, with less lights and not more, from the southern downtown to the 385 intersection (especially if the County Square becomes fully developed). Removing the bridge will turn Church St. into Woodruff Rd. because the alternate routes will be just as crowded. 

My wish is that traffic from coffee st. and washington st. would be precluded from turning left and a dedicated right turn lane would be at Church / E. North connecting church to 385. This would keep traffic moving from University Ridge to 385 in a more reasonable fashion. Maybe ask the drivers heading East on Washington to adjust and find an alternate route during rush hour, too. 

We are talking about the same stretch correct? The bridge spans after University Ridge to just after McBee. It would be two, maybe three more lights. Traffic on side streets would increase mostly on McBee to Washington. Maybe somewhat Broad to McDaniel to McBee. 

You make it sound like Church street wouldn't exist. It would be in the same exact place. Just on the ground. 

Edited by johnpro318

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think removing the Church St. bridge really just creates another Academy on the east-side of DT. I drive Academy every day; traffic is constantly getting worse and the roadway continues to deteriorate due to high volume. Not to mention it takes a good amount of time to get from the West End to the North Main area thanks to all the traffic lights along that corridor. Adding the same slow-downs to the other side of downtown just seems like a bad idea. Plus, gman is right... that bridge gives us some of the best skyline views.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would redo the bridge. Make the new bridge like Atlantic Station in Atlanta with a parking garage underneath it. The added parking would save other valuable land from the need for more parking garages for years to come. 

You could also make a new pedestrian connection from the top of the bridge to the new parking garage.

The underneath garage could serve as a catalyst to developers would would want to build high-rises off of the new bridge. 

Of course the new bridge would need protected bike lanes and 8-10 ft sidewalks.

 

This would solve many problems including: multi-modal transportation, traffic, and parking in one swoop. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, ausrutherford said:

I would redo the bridge. Make the new bridge like Atlantic Station in Atlanta with a parking garage underneath it. The added parking would save other valuable land from the need for more parking garages for years to come. 

You could also make a new pedestrian connection from the top of the bridge to the new parking garage.

The underneath garage could serve as a catalyst to developers would would want to build high-rises off of the new bridge. 

Of course the new bridge would need protected bike lanes and 8-10 ft sidewalks.

 

This would solve many problems including: multi-modal transportation, traffic, and parking in one swoop. 

I think if they rebuild they could do a cool bike/walking path that's elevated and have a viewing platform towards the city

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ausrutherford said:

I would redo the bridge. Make the new bridge like Atlantic Station in Atlanta with a parking garage underneath it. The added parking would save other valuable land from the need for more parking garages for years to come. 

You could also make a new pedestrian connection from the top of the bridge to the new parking garage.

The underneath garage could serve as a catalyst to developers would would want to build high-rises off of the new bridge. 

Of course the new bridge would need protected bike lanes and 8-10 ft sidewalks.

 

This would solve many problems including: multi-modal transportation, traffic, and parking in one swoop. 

How could you build a garage on such a narrow ROW? and without blocking McBee and Broad Streets

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If they removed the bridge, it would be a shame that it was a couple of years too late. The Ellison and new City garage virtually ignore Church Street. People on here used the bridge as justification for it being acceptable. At least the City garage is built up to the street. Nonetheless, I think it's removal would be a positive-- it would slow traffic on McBee and Broad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess that maintenance costs would be less if the bridge was removed.  I do like the garage idea under it though if it would fit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a US highway, I do not see the feds letting it go away, they wouldn't let the city reduce lanes or add street parking when the last work was done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, btoy said:

It is a US highway, I do not see the feds letting it go away, they wouldn't let the city reduce lanes or add street parking when the last work was done.

 

There are quite a few highways that have been reduced. 

13 hours ago, vicupstate said:

How could you build a garage on such a narrow ROW? and without blocking McBee and Broad Streets

They would already have to expand the bridge for the bike lanes, etc giving more room underneath. 

Edited by ausrutherford

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, ausrutherford said:

They would already have to expand the bridge for the bike lanes, etc giving more room underneath. 

The city's proposal for a protected bicycle and pedestrian lane was predicated on removal of the existing pedestrian walkways, such that a multi-use lane could be accommodated. In a related article linked from the article above, Mayor Knox White was quoted as saying, "'A protected barrier would allow walkers, runners and bicyclists to feel safe and comfortable on that bridge," http://greenvillejournal.com/2017/02/13/city-council-may-ask-scdot-add-protected-bike-lanes-church-st-bridge/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, RiverWalker said:

The city's proposal for a protected bicycle and pedestrian lane was predicated on removal of the existing pedestrian walkways, such that a multi-use lane could be accommodated. In a related article linked from the article above, Mayor Knox White was quoted as saying, "'A protected barrier would allow walkers, runners and bicyclists to feel safe and comfortable on that bridge," http://greenvillejournal.com/2017/02/13/city-council-may-ask-scdot-add-protected-bike-lanes-church-st-bridge/

Well Im pretty sure they still have some ROW to work with if they replaced the bridge altogether. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.