Greenville City Council approved closing part of the East Washington Street tunnel — also referred to as the Richland Way underpass — to vehicular traffic as a way of increasing safety along the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Council previously discussed the measure at a work session but wanted public input before making a decision. The previous arrangement allowed for two-way vehicular traffic while sharing pedestrian traffic. The tunnel has poor visibility and sight lines, according to Calin Owens, mobility coordinator with the city, making it dangerous to mix pedestrian and vehicle traffic without any modifications.
Two public meetings, with nearly 80 attendees, overwhelmingly supported closing both lanes of the East Washington Street tunnel.
“We’ve had a lot of really, really good discussions,” Owens said. He didn’t have a date when the tunnel would be closed.
Greenville County EMS, the city police department, fire department and the South Carolina Department of Transportation all supported closing the tunnel to vehicular traffic.
Approved on first reading: Rezoning on Hampton Avenue
City council approved rezoning of about 1.5 acres on Hampton Avenue to convert the Thompson building into affordable housing.
“The Thompson building has been a problem for the community for years,” said councilwoman Lillian Brock Flemming. “People assumed it was a dumping area.”
A new apartment building would be the centerpiece of the site, and the exterior would resemble piano keys, according to renderings provided by Jay Graham, Planning and Development Services director.
The final development plan must be submitted within three years of the final rezone approval.
Approved on first reading: Rezoning Enclave Laurens area
Council approved rezoning 12.8 acres on North Pleasantburg Drive, Laurens Road and Airport Road. Plans call for multiple buildings built near the Swamp Rabbit Trail, including a mixed-use parking deck, apartments and office buildings. Plans also call for green space and some units affordable housing.
As with the Hampton Avenue development, the final development plan must be submitted within three years of the final rezone approval.