spartanburgh

Mary Black Rail Trail

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The Clemson School of Architecture will conduct a study of the Mary Black Rail Trail area. The study area is between Pine St., Country Club Road and Union St. The Project will show how infill development in this area could happen. They will consentrate on midrise residential development. A meeting will be held in the Denny's auditorium on Wed. Aug. 28 from 3-5 PM to show how this area could be developed to increase sustainable residential development in the near future.

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It may be a bit of a stretch to call this a 'downtown' project... but I still think this thread is the most appropriate place for now.

There is apparently an effort underway to encourage/attract business adjacent to the rail trail. If it pans out this could make a really cool feature in Spartanburg even cooler :)

HJ Article

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I split out a few posts so that the Rail Trail can have it's own topic.

In response to the recent articles in the Herald-Journal about the crime in the area, I thought it would be appropriate to share this report with everyone. It is published by the FHWA and covers the topic of saftey and crime on trails. Definitely an interesting read if you have time. The quick summary is that generally speaking, crime rates are lower along trails because there are more people on them.

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/ped_bike/docs/rt_safecomm.pdf

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Has their been any activity on this study recently? I frequent the trail and would love to see the area around it begin to grow with new businesses. I think the skate park on Union Street is a good start.

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A dog park is coming to the Rail Trail. I was told about it at a meeting for the Friends of the MBF Rail Trail (organized by Partners for Active Living). It's going on some land where the City maintenance department parked some vehicles (near the entrance to Duncan Park). It should be open sometime this spring. Here's a picture of the site:

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I think dog-owners will be happy with this. It's near downtown without being in the central business district, it's a reasonable size (bigger than one DT would be), it's convenient (on the Rail Trail), and has the potential for expansion.

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That's a good location. But why would they remove the trees from that site?

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The 2 large trees they removed were dying, likely due to the vehicles the city parked under them.

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Ok, that makes sense. Will they plant new ones?

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We are frequent users of the Rail Trail and wonder if anyone knows if there is a possibility of extending the trail in either direction? It really has become a lot more crowded lately (good thing) and it has proven a real benefit to the community.

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I agree that the Rail Trail has been getting more and more use lately. I've heard a lot of people talk about wanting an extension of the trail, but I don't think there are any concrete plans at the moment. I'd love for it to extend to 295 and connect to the path there.

The challenge is that the rail line beyond Country Club Rd is still active, so that's not an option. You'd either have to put it along Union St (i.e. a very wide sidewalk) or at the back of the properties, near the rail line. Another possibility would be going over to the other side of Union St and finding a path there. Any of these options would be challenging, as you'd have to deal with multiple property owners.

Also, I'd love to see the Henry St & Union St intersection reworked to be more accommodating to pedestrians and cyclists, so it would be easier to get to downtown from the Rail Trail (and vice-versa).

At this point, the best thing we can probably do is contact City Council and let them know an extension is something we really want.

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^ I want to see a 4-3 conversion on Union Street between 295 and Henry St. It's a perfect candidate- low traffic volumes, great connectivity to neighborhoods, businesses, recreation, etc. Plus it would be a great connection into downtown. Charlotte completed a similar conversion and it has been great for businesses in the area. We've seen lots of shops and restaurants open up because they want to be on that street

Edit: A "4-3 conversion" is planner lingo for a road diet of a 4-lane undivided street (ie: Union St) into a 3-lane facility with bike lanes. So, 2 thru-lanes, bike lanes, and a center turn lane and/or landscaped median.

EBlvd-06.jpg

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That would be awesome. Aren't 4-3 conversions usually done on streets with 4 lanes & no median? Union already has a median, so it'd be more like a 5-3 conversion, but there would be a lot of excess roadway. Perhaps some on-street parking could be added? Anyway, this would be great, but I think it would be hard to get this implemented since Union Street has the State Highway 56 designation plus it gets a good bit of truck traffic (particularly near the 295 end).

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Yeah, good point. I forgot Union St had a median. Still, there no reason you can't do exactly what you described. If you have an entire lane of traffic on each side of the street you could install parking and planting areas for trees.

Cities all over have been able to accomplish road diets on state-maintained streets where there is truck traffic. We have examples of this in Charlotte. Four lanes of traffic are not required to support truck traffic. They just need the proper design consideration at intersections and key driveways (which is the purpose of maintaining the center turn lane.

The best part about road diets is that they can be done relatively cheaply as roads are resurfaced and re-striped. The plantings don't have to be included, though IMO they do make the project more sellable to residents and business owners.

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A new townhome development called "314 South" will be built near the Rail Trail, just behind the YMCA.  There will be 16 units, and each will be 2-stories & 1200 sq ft.  They will initially be rental at between $1200 & $1500 per month, but could be sold outright if there's interest.  They're expected to be completed by the end of the year.

 

Herald-Journal article

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I think the pricing might be a little ambitious on this one. Obviously I want them to succeed... I'm just not sure what the market is like for a product like this, given the location.

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Some new wayfinding signs were put up on the Rail Trail about a week ago.  I had known they were coming, but they look great.  They are at each road intersection (Henry, Marion, St Andrews, Forest, Country Club) and the Dog Park.  The signs direct people to other trails, parks, and points of interest (and tell how far away each are).  Every sign also has a map of the Rail Trail and a recommended route to take to the destinations mentioned on the sign.  I believe the sign design is indicative of what will eventually be used throughout Spartanburg on future trails and greenways.

 

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The ground has been graded for the 314 South townhome development behind the YMCA.

 

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Walls are going up on the 314 South townhome development.

 

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The City posted some information today concerning the status of connecting the Rail Trail to downtown.  Federal funding is being sought for the extension project.  Of particular interest are two possible plans for crossing Henry Street (see below).  What do you think?  Which plan would you prefer?

HenryStreetCrossing1.jpg

HenryStretCrossing2.jpg

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Option 1 is by far the best. 

 

You should generally avoid staged crossings where peds would have their backs to traffic, as it makes people uncomfortable. There is not that much traffic on Henry St, so if the intent is to take the trail up St Paul St, then as a user of the trail I would prefer to cross at the current trail head location anyway.

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Yeah, I agree that the first Henry crossing option is definitely better.

 

The intent is to take the trail up Union Street.  From there, I think there is some question on whether to take it up Dean Street to Main or to take Kennedy to Converse to Main.  I like Kennedy to Converse, and I think that is what the Trails & Greenways Master Plan recommends.  More details on the extension are coming soon, I believe.

 

Also, the 314 South townhouse apartments are coming along pretty quickly.

post-24605-0-64951600-1375755657_thumb.j post-24605-0-56935900-1375755659_thumb.j

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As you might expect, Rail Trail usage has grown significantly in the last several years.  In 2012, there were 65,500 Rail Trail users (up from 25,000 in 2009).  Among those who use the Rail Trail, there is an even split among men and women and about 30 percent are non-white.  Usage is expected to continue to increase, particularly once the extension into downtown is completed.

 

H-J article

 

Also, brickwork is progressing on the 314 South townhouse apartments.

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