Rock Hill, SC — Study Backs Streetcar
Rock Hill, 23 miles south of Charlotte across the North Carolina-South Carolina state line, is being proposed for a Knowledge Park business campus near Winthrop University and project organizers have suggested a streetcar line (patterned after the Little Rock, Arkansas, River Rail heritage line) to link the university, business park, and downtown. The heraldonline.com site reports that project organizers are inviting public feedback. "While a bus or trolley didn’t show a substantial economic impact, a streetcar showed an ability to attract riders, said David Lawrence, Rock Hill’s Knowledge Park development manager."
Members of the Knowledge Park Leadership Group, a collection of business people pushing the redevelopment of the post-industrial section of downtown, presented their findings on the potential economic and community impact of different transportation models for Rock Hill, with a focus on the attraction and tourist-destination feel of a downtown streetcar.
About 50 citizens attended the meeting were handed a survey soliciting their input on the Knowledge Park concept and on transportation options that would serve them including a rubber-tired bus-trolley, a modern bus, or a pedestrian mall.
David Lawrence, Rock Hill’s Knowledge Park development manager said the study to date showed that a streetcar would have the most positive impact on the areas. “It’s something people want to ride,” Lawrence said, “not something they need to ride because they don’t have another way to get where they’re going.”
The streetcar is also expected to be preferred by young people attracted to urban areas, and who work in the high-tech, creative industries Knowledge Park plans to attract. They prefer not to drive if they can avoid it.