I want to congratulate Chris Clauson, zoning administrator for the town, on winning our Step Up Challenge with more 220,000 steps logged over the month of February as part of a health and wellness initiative we had at Town Hall. We had 11 people participate in wearing pedometers and tracking their activity throughout the month for a total of 1,169,725 total steps recorded. Rounding out the top five were Karen Owens (communications and economic development), Julie Hammond (town clerk), Inga Whelchel (clerk of court) and Russell Wright (utilities operations superintendent). Chris received a $100 gift card to Academy Sports and the remaining 10 people all received a $5 gift card to the Coffee Shelf. Special thanks to Jerry Caldwell for helping us with our contest.
Last month, Town Council was informed that SCDOT was requiring the town to relocate its sewer lines at the intersection of Old Lexington and Murray Lindler Road where a roundabout has been proposed. After the meeting I reached out to Eric Hall, a Safety Project Development Engineer with the agency. I had asked him why a traffic signal was not be used instead of installing a roundabout which appears to be a much more expensive alternative. Eric informed me that this intersection was selected for improvement through the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP). This program uses a data-driven strategic approach to identify locations throughout the state with high crash rates or patterns and implements safety enhancements through infrastructure-related improvements. The HSIP project selection requires an engineering study that includes an analysis of the crash data, an assessment of field conditions, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of all potential countermeasures to ensure maximum safety benefit is obtained for the amount of funds invested.
Over a four year period, there were 17 crashes at this location with nearly 50 percent resulting in an injury. Thirteen out of the 17 accidents were right angle crashes, which are often the most severe. Because of their successful performance at similar locations throughout the state, a roundabout was the approach selected. Roundabouts are considered safer than a traditional signalized intersection due to reducing the number of conflict points, slowing speeds and requiring all vehicles to travel in the same direction. Nationwide, roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal crashes by 90 percent, injury crashes by up to 76 percent, and all crashes by 35percent. In South Carolina, roundabouts have been shown to reduce fatal crashes by 100 percent, injury crashes by 71 percent, and total crashes by 71 percent. Furthermore, the Federal Highway Administration recently advised all states that roundabouts are one of the top nine proven safety countermeasures for roadway safety and issued guidance that encourages all states to advance the implementation of roundabouts to help save lives and prevent serious injuries on our nation’s roadways.
Although the intersection did not currently meet signal warrants, a traffic signal alternative was analyzed. It was determined that the signalized intersection would have higher number of conflict points, right-of-way and environmental impacts. Construction costs would be greater than the roundabout option since a signalization would require the construction of turn lanes on each leg of the intersection.
Last week we were glad to learn from Rep. Nathan Ballentine that the proposed business license bills had been referred back to the House Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee. Let’s hope there can be more discussion to remove some of the punitive measures these bills included to strip municipalities of their rights to administer business license collections and gave out-of-state firms a competitive advantage over our SC businesses. I continue to encourage all business owners and residents to stay informed on this matter and share your disapproval with our town council members and legislative delegation.
On a more somber note, we hosted the American Legion Post 193 Riders last Friday morning at Town Hall for the motorcade to escort six unclaimed veterans’ remains for interment at Fort Jackson’s national cemetery. I shared photos of this on my Facebook, but we had more than 50 people come out to honor these former soldiers. There were folks from Augusta, Asheville and Greenville that joined our Chapin post riders. I continue to be thankful for the service and commitment our American Legion Post members exhibit daily in our community. And God bless those unclaimed veterans who bravely served our country.
This Thursday we have one of our free Shred Days at Town Hall, thanks to our Chapin Police Department and Shred360. Residents can bring up to three boxes of documents and paper to be shredded and recycled between 9 – 11 am in our parking lot. They will also be collecting food and monetary donations for Chapin We Care Center, which does so much to help our neighbors in need in the greater Chapin area. I hope you will come out and take advantage of this opportunity to have a little spring cleaning and secure document destruction to avoid identity theft. Next month, you can get rid of your old electronics, computers and other appliances at a collection being hosted by Lexington County on Saturday, April 8 from 9 am to 1 pm at Chapin United Methodist Church. So mark your calendars and make plans to participate in this collection, too.