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Riverwalk has grown up in Rock Hill. Now it's time to slow down

A 275,000-square-foot building is proposed near Riverwalk Business Park between Eden Terrace and Paragon Way.
A 275,000-square-foot building is proposed near Riverwalk Business Park between Eden Terrace and Paragon Way. Herald file photo

Activity has been ramping up at Riverwalk for some time now. But now it's time to slow down.

Rock Hill City Council recently approved new speed limits at Riverwalk. The issue is partly because of speed, but more to do with the number of vehicles at the site. Riverwalk is a mix of residences, businesses and attractions like the riverfront trail by the same name, BMX supercross track and Giordana Velodrome.

"This is pretty unique in that Riverwalk is a large amount of acreage," said Councilman Jim Reno. "We typically do not see this size parcel come into the city and be developed. Once the collector roads have been completed to the point where traffic is now flowing through to other major arteries, it's now time to put those speed limits in place."

New speed limits range from 15 to 35 mph. Three of four main entrances off Cherry Road will be 30 mph. Several residential areas will be 25 mph, with one near the Catawba River at 20 mph. The area nearest the river and bridge, along with a main intersection within Riverwalk, will be 15 mph.

"There's a lot of lower speed limits than what I would call the default speed limit," Reno said. "But there are variations."

Those variations concerned several council members. Almost 30 posted signs are coming, along with a dozen more indicating intersections, turns and curves.

"It just seems like there's so much inconsistency," said Councilman John Black.

He also foresees confusion for police officers enforcing so many speed limit changes.

"Can we not just make it, reduce all of it a little bit more?" he asked. "Make it a little bit more driver friendly? I think it's just confusing to drivers."

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Councilman Kevin Sutton said the speed limit and signage map "just looks crazy to me."

"I'm more concerned about the precedent," he said. "Over the years we've kind of pushed back on 25 mph speed limits."

Sutton says plenty of neighborhoods could ask for speed limit changes.

"This potentially opens up a can of worms for us," he said. "I see one neighborhood after the next coming in asking for 25 mph speed limits."

Clifton Goolsby, city transportation manager, said road widths, curves, topography and other factors determine what speed limits are best.

"This neighborhood is a unique development that has been designed with the understanding that we are basically trying to control speeds," he said.

Councilwoman Sandra Oborokumo said she understands the need for speed limits at Riverwalk and enforcement.

"It's a moot point in my opinion because people drive as fast or slow as they believe they want to," she said, "no matter what the sign says."

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