Runners and lawmakers would like to make streets safer for everyone

Runners and lawmakers would like to make streets safer for everyone

LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Crystal Watts is one of the many runners taking part in the Lexington SAFE Committee’s weeklong 24/7 run.

She said many runners and bicyclists in South Carolina face similar issues, “It’s really tough to get people to see you.”

Runners are hoping to rack up 6,227 miles this week to remember the 6,227 pedestrians who died across the country in 2018. “The big goal of this is to raise awareness that pedestrians and cyclists are out there and to encourage the community to come up with some solutions,” Watts said.

Preliminary data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety shows that as of May 9th, 58 pedestrians have died on state highways and roads. This time last year, that number was at 54.

Representative Marvin Pendarvis (D-Charleston) said, “Every week there seems to be some kind of pedestrian fatality, some kind of pedestrian injury in South Carolina.”

Rep. Pendarvis filed a “Complete Streets” bill this session. The bill would urge the South Carolina Department of Transportation to find ways to make sure roads in South Carolina are safe for everyone. Whether you’re taking public transportation, driving your own car, running or riding a bike.

Rep. Pendarvis said he will be working DOT to see what can be done and about how much it could cost to make sidewalk improvements and add more bicycle lanes. “The public has been very receptive to it and they’re excited and recognize there is some momentum now.”

Runners and cyclists like Gary Blight said he hopes to see these improvements and more green spaces in the Midlands. “It’s a long term goal and it’s a big goal. We’re just a small voice. But for this to be happening at the same time means it’s being heard somewhere.”

The complete streets bill received a favorable report in subcommittee and is currently sitting in committee. Rep. Pendarvis hopes the bill makes progress once the session starts in January 2020.

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