As work continues to extend the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail along Laurens Road from Pleasantburg Drive to Verdae Boulevard, the city will set aside money for other trail projects.
Greenville City Council has given preliminary approval to spending more than $1 million in capital improvement project money for feasibility and preliminary engineering studies and construction of three trails. The money will also pay for a study of protected bike lanes on five downtown Greenville streets. Final approval is expected on Monday.
As reported in October by the Greenville Journal, one of the projects is a potential parallel route could connect the new Laurens Road section of the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail to Pelham Road.
The Laurel Creek trail would be Americans with Disabilities Act compatible, and it would have a grade of under 5 percent along the entire way. The route, which would use existing sewer easements, would have up to three street crossings and up to three pedestrian bridges.
If constructed the trail, which would be just less than one mile-long, could give residents of the apartment complexes near Haywood Mall and the Fluor campus access to the Swamp Rabbit Trail all the way to Travelers Rest.
Greenville’s 2012 bike master plan proposed on-street bike lanes linking Laurens Road to Haywood Mall, but city officials have said it’s not feasible because of traffic and the existing engineering of Haywood Road.
The second project would connect Cleveland Park to the new bridge over Laurens Road that is being built as part of the Laurens Road GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail extension. That connector would provide multiple ways for people to get to Cleveland Park, according to Greenville City Manager John Castile.
A third new trail would be the Sliding Rock Mountain Bike Trail, a natural surface trail adjacent to Nicholtown. The city is working with SORBA on the project.
And finally, the city will conduct feasibility studies on creating protected bike lanes on Townes and Richardson streets, West Washington Street, McBee Avenue, and Pendleton Street. The city currently has one protected bike lane on Broad Street from South Main to Falls streets. Protected bike lanes separate bicycle traffic from vehicular traffic by using curbs, bollards, planters, parked cars, and paint.
Work on the Swamp Rabbit extension on Laurens Road continues.
The exact location of the trail and the bridge over Laurens Road near Washington Street hasn’t been determined yet as Greenville County, which is building the extension, is still in negotiations with private property owners.