Blythewood traffic circle causing angst

BLYTHEWOOD – After several public meetings were held last year about the Penny Tax traffic circle proposed at the entrance of Cobblestone Park, project engineers scooted the circle slightly south to minimize the impact on property owners whose property would be effected by the encroachment of the circle. During Council’s annual retreat on Saturday, Bethany Parler, a resident of Cobblestone Park, addressed the problem again.

“The traffic circle will not solve the traffic problem and may contribute to a bigger problem,” Parler said. “If you look at the plans, you will have to turn left out of Cobblestone, then shoot across two lanes of moving traffic, then merge to the right to get on to the interstate while cars are merging onto the circle from Community Road,” she said.

Councilman Malcolm Gordge, who moderated the discussion at the retreat, agreed that the traffic circle is the most contentious part of the proposed Blythewood Road widening project, pointing out that the circle would encroach on several entrances, including Cobblestone Park, Food Lion, Palmetto Citizens Bank, the former community center property and Community Road.

“Some people are still not very happy with it. The Penny folks are still open to comment,” Gordge said. “But they may not be able to accommodate those comments.”

“When residents asked the Richland County representatives last week why they were even installing a traffic circle at Cobblestone, we were told it was part of the referendum. It was not. It was submitted because it was part of the town plan,” Parler said. “I’m not sure [the County] will be able to afford the money it will take for the right of way you’ll have to buy for the traffic circle at Creech Road. I can’t see the wisdom of including these traffic circles [at Creech Road and Cobblestone.] I can’t see McDonalds giving up very important real estate for the Creech Road circle.”

Cobblestone resident Mike Switzer spoke in favor of the circle at Cobblestone and Community Road.

“A lot of the fear of a traffic circle is not knowing how to use it,” Switzer said. Councilman Brian Franklin said he lived in Europe for several years while he was in the Army and that traffic circles are common there and do improve traffic flow.

“You never have to stop,” Franklin said. “But I understand the complications involved. We really don’t know if it will ease traffic here.”

Beginning at 5 p.m., those attending the public meeting can review displays of the proposed project. At 6 p.m., the Richland Penny Program representatives will make a brief presentation. Citizens will then have the opportunity to make comments.

The school is located at 1031 Muller Road in Blythewood. For more information, call 844-727-3669 or go to www.richlandpenny.com

Comments

  1. Heather G. says

    If a traffic light remains at the interstate ramps, during peak traffic times, won’t traffic back up at the traffic circle causing even more of an issue?

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