Plan would increase transit options for students in Five Points - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Plan would increase transit options for students in Five Points

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

As students from all across the country make the trek to Columbia to begin fall classes at the many colleges in the city, city council members heard a plan during a work session to increase transit options in Five Points.

Supporters say these changes are meant to help them as well as others. This comes less than a year after University of South Carolina student Martha Childress was left paralyzed after being shot in Five Points.

The parties that have been working on this plan, including the Columbia Police Department, say it should give teens more access to ways to leave Five Points especially at the end of their evenings.

The plan calls for adding four taxi loading locations along parts of Harden Street, stretching from College Avenue  all the way down to Santee Avenue.

The city has also been working to USC to expand access to shuttles that can take students directly back to the campus.

Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook says the goal will be to encourage to take advantage of those shuttles without fear of being scrutinized by police, especially if they're underage and have been drinking.

Holbrook says these changes are focused on promoting safety and the department also intends to achieve that goal by having extra police in Five Points at night.

"Through education, public awareness, communication with our business folks downtown, the university, signage, extra lighting and traffic control with the taxis, we think it's going to create a safer environment," said Holbrook.

Going forward the city also hopes to work with other schools, hopefully allowing them to provide shuttle pick up in Five Points as well.

City officials say new signs designated those taxi loading zones should be making their first appearances in the coming weeks.

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