Walking and biking are frequent means of transportation for many City of Columbia residents. One city committee's main goal is to ensure pedestrians and bicyclists can make it to their destinations as conveniently and safely as possible.
The Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), seeks to advise the City of Columbia Transportation Planning team, city council members, the mayor, community organizations and partners on bicycling and pedestrian issues facing the city. The group works toward the implementation of the Comprehensive Plan: Walk Bike Columbia, and any other adopted bicycle and pedestrian plans or policies.
Cynthia Watson, Co-Chair of BPAC, provided an update on the committee's current and upcoming projects. All meetings to include city council, committees, and commissions were held virtually since the onset of COVID, but now most have returned to in-person.
"We finally have a full Board and it is full of energy." said Watson.
BPAC completed its first Walk-Bike Ambassador Program, an educational series which offered citizens the opportunity to learn about bike and pedestrian safety, along with infrastructure improvements. The program had 15 attendees and Watson said she hopes for at least 20 or more to attend next year.
BPAC is currently working on several major projects to include discussions with Central Midlands Council of Governments and The COMET. The committee's goals include funding a study to expand the system across the Congaree River into West Columbia, working with city engineering and public works staff on a set of drawings for a bike- and pedestrian-friendly Calhoun Street, and collaborating with SCDOT to repave portions of Monticello Road to incorporate bike facilities. Scheduling is in the works for a public meeting regarding the Monticello Road project.
"I hope that our Walk Bike Ambassador Program becomes a flagship to BPAC as one of our greatest vessels for outreach in the city of Columbia. We should all be so proud of the work we're doing on BPAC," said Watson.