People who live and work along Broad River Road are invited to meetings next week on the future of the high-traffic corridor.
The Central Midlands Council of Governments and Richland County are embarking on a year-long study of the area, starting with community meetings Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Officials said they want to hear from the people who live along the corridor, as well as business owners there.
"I expect the community to come out in droves, because it's time to take a look at Broad River Road and to polish some of the rough edges," said neighborhood planner Tiaa Rutherford, with Richland County.
Topics will include trends in economic development, pedestrian amenities, streetscaping opportunities, the potential for transit and urban design.
About 25,000 people live in subdivisions along the corridor, and another 19,000 people work there, according to Central Midlands.
The section under study runs for about five miles, from the river to Harbison State Forest.
The meetings run each evening from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Dutch Square Center:
- Monday's meeting is geared toward people with an interest in the area between Harbison Boulevard and I-20.
- Tuesday's meeting is for those between River Drive and I-20.
- Wednesday's meeting is open to anyone.
The $250,000 study is being funded with a combination of federal and county dollars. Consultants are the IBI Group, based in Atlanta.
"Residents have been asking for this for a long time," said Richland Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, who pressed for the study and pledged to do everything she could to pay for revitalization of the corridor.
Reginald Simmons, transportation director for Central Midlands, said planners hope residents will share "their overall vision of what they would like to see the corridor become over the next 10 to 20 years."
After next week's kick-off meetings, the consultants will come up with design concepts and proposals for traffic improvements.
A second round of public meetings will be held in the spring.
"We feel it's a corridor that is ready to see some improvements," Simmons said. "It carries a lot of traffic. It has a lot of development. It has a lot of opportunity for growth."