Thank you for your interest in bicyclists’ safety in Greenville County. As far as my involvement
in cycling, in my younger years, I did a lot of it. My wife and I had gotten in to cycling for exercise
last year. We at first enjoyed the SRT but found that due to its over crowdedness at times, we
(at times) would be practically ran over by some enthusiasts who were trying to set a new record
in reaching TR from downtown. Even on days when it was less crowded, we had the concern of
safety from possible muggers. I believe due to the depravity of society to which Gv (and other
counties) have slouched down to, I had to make sure I had my 9mm on me when we went riding
the SRT. (I have a CWP.)
The SRT is an example of a local government responding to a sector of society who has a
legitimate concern: bicycle safety. The county responded by spending over one million dollars
for the old railway system (though it was not intended for that purpose in the beginning):
“…because nobody else had responded favorably to SCCR’s sale offer, the County Council
negotiated with SCCR to buy the entire line. The purchase included the main part of the line
between mileposts 2.1 and 11.8, the southernmost part of the line that had been approved for
abandonment but had not yet been disposed of, and a nearby 3.29-mile piece of track that was
not used by G&A. The total purchase price was $1.3 million. The County Council created
GCEDC to acquire and own the lines, and GCEDC obtained authority from the Board to acquire
all of the lines, with SCCR retaining an easement to operate over the 3.29-mile segment only.”
In all fairness, the County originally bought the old railway system to make a commuter railway
from downtown Greenville to TR, not to put in a bike trail. But, non-the-less, a project costing tax
payers that much should have been better thought out than that. The commuter system idea was
scrapped. But what else should we expect when 12 people are deciding to buy something without
“hazarding their own lives and fortunes” for that which is for sale and on their wish list?
So getting back to the SRT, it was forged to utilize the property whose original purpose was for
something entirely different than the CC decided on which went bust. Some 11 years after Greenville
County Council purchased the old railway system, it was presented with the proposal, dubbed
The *SWT has given a slight economic boost to the Greenville economy, according to the source
cited below. It shows a wide range of estimated dollars derived from the SRT which is far short of the
amount the taxpayers had to pay originally for it and, are currently, paying to maintain it.
“Businesses that relocated near the Swamp Rabbit trail reported a 30% to 50% increase in sales.
Annual revenue from trail users ranged from $50,000 to $400,000 in Year 2 according to managers/
Imagine yourself going in for a job interview and in response to your question of salary you are told
you may make $50K to $400k annually? How are these **stats derived? What were the sales of the
“relocated” businesses to the SRT area in the previous year(s)? Naturally, if they are new start-ups, then
their sales would be averaging a 40% increase because in their previous year they made nothing.
This business of restructuring roads and trails to “make it safer for cyclists” is the same old policy
making stuff we see in Washington “… kicking the can down the road.” One bad decision leads to
another and the taxpayers are on the hook.
After my wife and I decided to stop riding the SRT we rode bikes at the Millennium Campus some
and out at the Perimeter (which is 7 miles in diameter). If people are enthused about biking, these are
some safe areas, especially the Perimeter because of the lack of traffic and a police command post is
Regarding the need for biking lanes and sidewalks: these are not 100% “bullet-proof” either. We
read every day where distracted or drunken drivers’ cars have left the road, over correcting and/or
crossing the center lane; thus, killing themselves or others. Since a “bike lane” is on the road, it can
still able to be crossed by a distracted or drunken driver. Lanes will not insure a biker’s safety. Should
the Gv County Council deem that “bike lanes” (even sidewalks) provide safety for bikers or walkers then if a biker or walker is injured or killed by a driver this could (with the help of a good lawyer) open up lawsuits for the taxpayers of the county. Any family of the injured or killed could have standing in court with a lawsuit on the basis that the Gv CC made statements which insured their loved ones safety by using the bike lanes and sidewalks.
There are other ways to produce safety for people to move about, whether by means of biking,
walking or even driving, in Greenville County. I suggest there be a re-enforcement of the laws either
already on the books or to implement new ones. I’m not a “Nanny State” official but part of the duty
of government on any level is to provide safety for its citizens. Therefore, the county (and city) police
ought to crack down on drunken driving and have the governing bodies return to limiting the sale of
alcohol back to the “blue laws” days. With the relaxing of alcohol sales on Sundays, this has made it more threatening to weekend bikers and walkers. Next, the county needs to do more in the ways of mowing the grass along the roadsides. I say it was cut about every 2 months (if that) out in areas of major state roads, such as: Highway 20. With the high costs of fuel, vehicular taxes, insurance, tires, etc. people are resorting more to walking, not for exercise, but because they are utilizing the millennia old way of transportation: using their two feet. In the summer, the roadside grass/weeds can grow to 4 feet tall, thus making it passable only on ATV’s. Therefore, the roadsides are not biker/walker friendly due to overgrown grass and fire ant mounds; all creating hazard’s to the citizens of Greenville.
We already are “taxed” $15 per vehicle per household for “road maintenance.” Therefore, the Gv
County government should utilize the “road maintenance” fee ($6,035,250)* that it already annually
receives in to do all of its maintenance and have plenty left over for a sidewalk project. ($15 x 402,350
registered vehicles in Gv CC, as of 12-31-14)*
Regarding my thoughts on new legislation, South Carolina should do as other states and ban the use
of texting while driving. Talking on the phone could possibly be banned on certain sectors of society,
particularly on those having been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. These do not have the cognitive ability
to focus on two things at one time, in this case, texting/talking on the phone while driving a 3,000+ lb
vehicle on a SC roadway.
How much money is the State owing Greenville County? According to Spartanburg County Council
District 6 Representative Roger A. Nutt, county residents have been paying twice for services and have
been shorted $20 million by the State of South Carolina. "For those of us fortunate enough to live in
Spartanburg County," explained Nutt in a newsletter to constituents. "It means that over the last 5 years
we have been shorted over $20 million. That is $20 million that you paid in taxes to the state and, since
Another question is raised by Gv County Councilman Joe Dill: “According to three County Councilmen, Greenville County has a $58 Million surplus. So why does the majority of County Councilmen want to advance a $65 Million sales tax referendum on next year’s ballot? And why has County Council been over charging residents on their property taxes? According to Councilmen Joe Dill, $30 million is required to stay in a rainy fund to maintain the County’s credit rating, but that leaves $28 Million.” Source: CLICK HERE.
We have adequate funds on hand, as evidenced, and we do not need to give the County more funds
to have to misuse (such as buying old railway systems) but we need to pressure the Greenville County
Council when are we going to see the already appropriated tax monies to be used according to the purposes for which they were derived? And, if they are not going to use those funds then why aren’t the Gv County taxpayers getting a rollback on their property tax millage? Lastly, at least twice since the 2008 market crash, Greenville County has reassessed our real properties (upwardly in value) and that, when those values actually dropped by some 20-30%.
The old question of “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.” In the case of Gv County Council, the question should be: “How much can an elephant eat? Ans: “As much as you’ll feed him.” The Gv County spending budget is no less different. It’s high time to call this elephant into accountability and put it on a weight-loss program. Perhaps we need to buy it a bicycle.
Todd W Frederick
Candidate for Greenville County Council District 26