College-Buncombe Street Cultural Corridor
The Cultural Corridor is the section of College/Buncombe Street between Main Street and Heritage Green. Owned by SCDOT, this four-lane urban collector street carries an estimated average daily traffic of 13,400 vehicles per day.
College Street is one of four significant growth areas that are changing the way Greenville’s downtown is functioning, but currently, it behaves like a highway, without adequate accommodations for pedestrian safety, urban uses and high-quality place-making to create a successful environment for an expanding downtown. Both the Downtown Master Plan and the Downtown Traffic Master Plan recommend improving pedestrian access and connectivity from the Heritage Green campus, with its unique collections of museums, theater and library, to the downtown core by adapting the out-of-date “through-street” design of College/Buncombe Street into an urban street that can accommodate vehicular traffic while providing multi-modal connectivity, safety and access.
As a result, the City has hired the engineering firm HDR to design a road improvement project for the Cultural Corridor, which will include street resurfacing, landscaping, multi-use paths, traffic signal upgrades and street/pedestrian lighting. The goals of the project include:
- Revitalize economic growth along the corridor
- Encourage drivers to utilize Academy Street as a “downtown bypass”
- Provide/enhance pedestrian and bicycle mobility between Main Street and Heritage Green
- Implement recommendations from the Downtown Master Plan and Downtown Traffic Master Plan
On June 6, the City and HDR held a stakeholder meeting to hear comments and answer questions about the project. Here are some of the common questions received during that session.
Q: What is the timeline for the work?
A: The goal is for design plans to be finalized so improvements can start on Academy Street in Fall 2022. Construction on College Street would likely begin in Spring 2023.
Q: What impact will the work have on pedestrians, especially families trying to access Heritage Green?
A: Safety for pedestrians is the number one concern. Possible improvements include shortening the distance pedestrians must travel between curbs, timing the signals to ensure pedestrians can cross safely without having conflicts with turning traffic and a shared-use path that will be available to pedestrians and recreational bicyclists.
Q: How will traffic be slowed on College Street?
A: Reducing the number of lanes from four to three and narrowing those lanes will help slow vehicle traffic. Trees along the street will increase safety and slow speeds.
Q: Will the corridor have a common look or aesthetic?
A: Potential public art projects and commonly themed directional signage are in discussion. The City is also considering a specific crosswalk design for the corridor to lead pedestrians along the safest path to get from Main Street to Heritage Green.