‘We need help’: West Columbia residents seek safer roadways after tragic pedestrian deaths

‘We need help’: West Columbia residents seek safer roadways after tragic pedestrian deaths

WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The West Columbia Police Department continues to investigate after two people were hit and killed by cars Thursday night on Sunset Boulevard.

According to the West Columbia Police Department, a pedestrian was hit by a vehicle at that time. A witness who saw the incident happen stopped to help the person. The witness who stopped did not hit the pedestrian. Moments later, that person was hit by another vehicle.

Marcel Melo has lived in the Saluda Estates neighborhood for 15 years.

“We need help down here, we need sidewalks, we need lightening, we need pedestrian-friendly areas and we need it now,” Melo said.

He reached out to WIS after Thursday night’s fatal crash, with his own concerns about some well-traveled roads in West Columbia.

“The lighting and sidewalks and roads, of West Columbia, are really insufficient for the amount of people that are housed around here,” Melo said. “It’s a very common occurrence that people walk down to Sunset Boulevard where you have your shops, entertainment, and a lot of different things in that area. There is a sidewalk but the lighting is very, very poor.”

Near where Thursday’s crash happened is N. Lucas Street.

“There are two major apartment complexes with loads of children and a few handicapped people that constantly walk down that road,” Melo said.

He adds there are no sidewalks along N. Lucas, and at night it’s pitch black.

A person who didn’t want to be identified by name said he walks along N. Lucas street five nights a week to work.

“They’ll just speed down here not thinking there’s anybody here. I’ve had to duck around a few cars,” the man said.

David Moye, newly elected councilman for West Columbia said he is aware of resident’s frustrations.

“We’re going to go through and make sure that everything that we’re doing has an intention to make the area safer for humans that walk around in these neighborhoods,” Moye said.

SCDOT said it plans to pull the crash data to asses if any low-cost improvements such as signing or marking are needed.

As for lighting, SCDOT said it does not install lighting on non-interstate streets located within a municipality.

If a local government wants to have lighting along one of their routes then it would typically be approved through an encroachment permit.

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