FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sumter County Active Lifestyles (SCAL) has prepared a survey asking citizens to provide input that will help us plan how we approach bicycling in our community. I believe that City residents are looking for more opportunities to bicycle, walk and generally become more active. That is why the City of Sumter has focused on connecting neighborhoods, schools and parks. Our improved Alice Drive will have well-lit sidewalks and bike lanes and we are continuously adding and improving sidewalks all around the City. These efforts are producing results: when we add sidewalks, we immediately see more people walking, running and cycling. (Remember: bicyclists can ride on sidewalks in the City except in the Central Business District -- essentially Downtown.)
Looking ahead, we must continue working to make all Sumter roadways safe for all forms oftransportation. Next steps could include designating some of our streets as "bicycle boulevards" or using "sharrows", a logo indicating that bicycles and motor vehicles share the roadway. I get quite a few calls asking for "speed bumps" and other devices to slow traffic. Maybe we could convince the South Carolina Department of Transportation to allow the City to really slow things down on certain streets--by lowering the speed limit?
Over time, I hope more and more Sumterites will decide to walk or ride their bicycles, not just for exercise, but also to work, to shop and whenever an alternative to driving is possible. Walking and bicycling are not only good for our health; they save us money and help keep our air clean. In addition, efforts to make Sumter a better place to walk and bike do more than just make our community more sustainable or "green"; they make our community more attractive for our younger residents and retirees and improve our economic development prospects. Many who move to Sumter with a job or with Shaw expect these amenities because they had them in other areas. I hope citizens of the City of Sumter are proud of what they have accomplished with our Downtown, our parks and gardens and our recreational facilities. I don't think we are bragging when we say we have some really great things going on here. We can make it even better!
So now that you know what I think, let us know what you think: Please fill out the SCAL survey.
Joseph T. McElveen, Jr., Mayor