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Mary Black Rail Trail


spartanburgh

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Construction on the Country Club Road project, including the extension of the Rail Trail, will begin next Monday.  From an e-mail I got:

The project will be begin October 17, 2022 and end on or before May 31, 2025.  Before beginning any construction, the contractor will install construction signage and traffic control devices at proper intervals in all directions along all involved roadways per SCDOT standard drawings.  They will apply temporary markings and maintain 10-ft travel lanes with daily lane closures and alternating one-way traffic patterns while maintaining driveway access at all times.

Construction will begin on the west end at Union St and will concentrate on the roadway improvements and coordination with Norfolk Southern to compete all railroad construction. Then they will work on construction of the new bridge over Four Mile Creek, construct the sedimentation pond and finish the roadway, curb & gutter, medians, traffic signals, markings, sidewalks and shared use path.

Edited by westsider28
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3 hours ago, Sparkleman said:

Where exactly is Four Mile Creek?

It kind of parallels Country Club Road, then crosses it to join Lawson's Fork down near Clifton Glendale.  There's a small bridge there that will be replaced as CC Rd will shift to follow Hilton Street to the Clifton-Glendale intersection.

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15 minutes ago, Spartan said:

Westsider, I think that was a joke because its called Four Mile Branch, not Four Mile Creek. It's a lot like how people call it Lawsons Fork Creek when its really just Lawsons Fork. I dunno why people have trouble with Fork and Branch as names for water bodies.

Welp.  The internet (especially text) is a terrible medium to convey sarcasm.  I guess I should've known with that particular poster...

Edited by westsider28
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
12 hours ago, westsider28 said:

Not much change lately (though quite a few people are already using it).  Perhaps a few more pavement markings.  Still awaiting a utility pole relocation and some pedestrian signals, I believe.

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I was hoping that Converse Street would be freshly resurfaced.  I guess not.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

The downtown cycletrack was officially opened yesterday with the name "Hub City Hopper".  Not thrilled about the name, and I doubt people will commonly call it that, but whatever.  There still seem to be some finishing touches that have yet to be all wrapped up.  Like there's only one bollard right now (on the north side of Main), but more are needed, as I saw a car driving on part of the cycletrack literally a block down from the dedication ceremony. 

Also, crossings haven't been painted for the cycletrack (except across Henry), just the usual sidewalk corner crossings for pedestrians.  Can we get some green paint please?  That's the standard at road/driveway crossings for cycletracks.  There are also no dedicated signals, and the walk lights don't even light up with the road greenlight unless you press the beg button, which is inconvenient for cyclists.  This will cause confusion as cyclists may miss the light, get impatient, and go against the light.  That could cause safety issues as well.

That's not to say I'm not thankful for this facility.  It's really wonderful and is the first of its kind in the state, so we're leading the way here.  But these details matter to smooth operation and safety.  There is good wayfinding signage, however, which is nice.

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From the rumor mill, it appears that the Dan will be by-passing the area owned by Gibbs (where Regional and the Southern Conference operate) when coming off of Beaumont Village. Gibbs didn't give his approval for the trail to traverse through that lot. And so now it seems it will make its way through the Beaumont children's park, go down to where that abandoned is passing the tracks and then down towards the electrical towers, crossing Chinquapin Creek, and connecting to Linder Street. The trail will then connect to Daniel Morgan Avenue, which will be reduced to three lanes, with a dedicated trail being added to the left side (heading towards the Marriott) and extra parking on the right side. All second hand intel, so, apply grains of salt as desired! 

 

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On 12/14/2022 at 12:55 PM, westsider28 said:

Can we get some green paint please

Green paint is coming, I am told by a source who is in a position to know.  The finishing touches haven't been put on, but I think they wanted to go ahead and have the celebration.  

They didn't want to use the term "rail trail" for this section because technically, it isn't a rails to trails conversion.  

But, it's absolutely worth celebrating - this has been a long time coming, and the expectation is that a lot of people will hop on and hop off this segment (hence the name), and it's a major connecting piece for the whole system.  

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8 hours ago, Historyguy said:

Green paint is coming, I am told by a source who is in a position to know.  The finishing touches haven't been put on, but I think they wanted to go ahead and have the celebration.  

They didn't want to use the term "rail trail" for this section because technically, it isn't a rails to trails conversion.  

But, it's absolutely worth celebrating - this has been a long time coming, and the expectation is that a lot of people will hop on and hop off this segment (hence the name), and it's a major connecting piece for the whole system.  

Great to hear.  I hope things can continue to be tweaked if/when usage reveals any issues.

In a way, I'm just relieved that it's finally done after all these years.  But it is exciting to have this in place, and it's definitely the core from which an expanded network of cycling connections can grow.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I love to use the rail trail for exercise and riding my bike..  it would be nice to be able to ride uninterrupted from Glendale to the new bike rail trail in inman (if the rail purchase goes through)and then on to saluda..  now that would be a major attraction for Glendale trail head.. wishful thinking but doable connection going through Millikan and USC  Upstate and up lawson fork.

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Since I finally had some good time off from work and the weather finally decided to cooperate, me and the wife decided to hit as many of the local trails as possible. Some observations and questions below.

The Cotton Wood and River Birch are still the king daddys of the Dan trail system. They are very well maintained as well as marked and provide a truer hiking experience.

The Mary Black rail trail from Country Club to Henry St is also a very good experience and the Fretwell area is really cool now that the coffee bar is open.

Walked over to the still under construction Drayton to Beaumont connector and that looks promising as well especially once it gets tied in with the River Birch.

The downtown extension of the rail trail is where things are well clunky is a good word. As others have mentioned, are they not going to repave the Converse St section? Also the pegs on the cross street lights don't work correctly in several spots and the Henry/Union intersection is a nightmare even when Henry St traffic is stopped due to folks constantly turned right off Union onto Henry. Not sure what the fix is here.

Also is the extension meant to be just for bikes? If so that is not spelled out at all. I am assuming it is made for walking as well but are walkers supposed to stay on the sidewalks or trails on Converse St?

I am happy where we are going with the trail system and feels like it is long overdue but the downtown section feels rushed and not completely thought out.

Just my .02

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3 hours ago, Sparkleman said:

Since I finally had some good time off from work and the weather finally decided to cooperate, me and the wife decided to hit as many of the local trails as possible. Some observations and questions below.

The Cotton Wood and River Birch are still the king daddys of the Dan trail system. They are very well maintained as well as marked and provide a truer hiking experience.

The Mary Black rail trail from Country Club to Henry St is also a very good experience and the Fretwell area is really cool now that the coffee bar is open.

Walked over to the still under construction Drayton to Beaumont connector and that looks promising as well especially once it gets tied in with the River Birch.

The downtown extension of the rail trail is where things are well clunky is a good word. As others have mentioned, are they not going to repave the Converse St section? Also the pegs on the cross street lights don't work correctly in several spots and the Henry/Union intersection is a nightmare even when Henry St traffic is stopped due to folks constantly turned right off Union onto Henry. Not sure what the fix is here.

Also is the extension meant to be just for bikes? If so that is not spelled out at all. I am assuming it is made for walking as well but are walkers supposed to stay on the sidewalks or trails on Converse St?

I am happy where we are going with the trail system and feels like it is long overdue but the downtown section feels rushed and not completely thought out.

Just my .02

I agree the downtown section is a bit confusing.  As I understand it, it's still not fully complete.  Someone mentioned earlier that green paint is expected at the driveway crossings.  I hope there are more improvements to come as well, because they're needed, as you say.

The portions that are a single "path" (Union and Kennedy) are for cyclists and walkers (like the main Rail Trail).  However, the Converse "cycletrack" on-road section should be cyclists-only (that's the national standard) with walkers using the sidewalk.  There is one sign near Barnet Park that points <--bikes | peds-->, however it's backwards...

And the intersections are also problematic, as you mention.  There are no walk signals at the Kennedy crossing.  The walk signals along Converse only light up when the button is pressed (they should light up with the green light every time).  The Henry crossing buttons are very awkward to reach (out of the way, facing the wrong direction, not ADA accessible).  And I knew the right-turn-only from Union to Henry would be dangerous as soon as I saw it in the plans years ago.  Also the Saint John crossing buttons are awkward and there's a very small curb ramp at Barnet Park that's not great for bikes.

There's a fantastic resource/guide from NACTO called "Don't Give Up at the Intersection", which seems relevant here.

The cycletrack in general is great and will become better as people begin to understand how it works and if/when we add more connections in the future.  They're very common and widely-used in bigger cities; we're just not used to it yet.  And IMO, we still focus on bike/pedestrian infrastructure as recreational facilities too much, rather than transportation facilities.  While greenways are more recreational in nature, on-road facilities are (or should be) more transportation oriented, like roads (i.e. directness and connectivity are important, in addition to safety).

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  • 4 weeks later...
23 hours ago, westsider28 said:

Green thermoplastic paint is beginning to go down along the DT cycletrack. 

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Edit: People For Bikes named the Hub City Hopper #6 on their "Best New US Bike Lanes" list!

I was hoping Union, Kennedy, and Converse Streets would receive a fresh sealcoat to enhance the look for the "Hopper".  Maybe that will happen in time.  

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