What is this Riverbanks Community Mobility Plan?
The Riverbanks area of northwest Columbia is looking to the future to be better prepared for the possibility of substantial new growth and development. The goal of the Riverbanks Community Mobility Plan is to prepare the area’s infrastructure, chiefly its transportation systems, and land use policies to direct this growth in a way that benefits existing and future residents. These transportation and land use decisions will be guided by a visionary planning process that begins with understanding the people, places, and identities that exist in this area today, working with community members to create a vision for the place Riverbanks should be come, creating new relationships with the area’s riverfront, surrounding neighborhoods, and Downtown Columbia, and expanding mobility options for all residents.
What is the planning area?
The study area for the Riverbanks Community Mobility Plan sits at the convergence of the Saluda and Broad Rivers and Interstates I-20, I-26, and I-126. It is a short distance northwest of Downtown Columbia and includes the Earlewood neighborhood and Elmwood Cemetery to consider the larger study area’s transition and access to downtown. It includes notable destinations such as the Dutch Square Mall, H. E. Rhame Elementary School, St. Andrews Middle School, and the COMET facilities on River Drive and Lucius Road.
Why is it called “Riverbanks?”
We understand that this is a complex, diverse area featuring many different neighborhoods, development types, and a major mall that all together have no single identity. The term “Riverbanks” is being used to define this area geographically as it sits between the Saluda and Broad Rivers and to highlight that reconsidering the relationship to these rivers is a key goal of the planning process. This is not a plan for the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden that is located near the study area.
What will the planning process include?
Community Engagement: We need your help in deciding the future for Riverbanks. Our planning process will include an open Design Charrette, pop-up activities at community events, and project content being made available on this website as well as social media.
Existing Conditions Analysis: We will examine all previous plans and studies related to this area, assess existing land use policies and patterns of development, the area’s transportation network and infrastructure, demographic and economic conditions, and housing needs.
Urban Design Vision and Framework: Based on what we learn, we will work with community members and stakeholder to develop a vision for Riverbanks as a place and use that vision to guide the organization of the area’s land uses and development, streets, trails and paths, transit infrastructure, parks and open spaces, and other physical elements.
Implementation Plan and Final Report: Findings from the analysis, input from the community, and the final plan and its recommendations will be included in a final report which will include strategic guidance on making the plan a reality.
What is the project team?
The project is being led by the Central Midlands Council of Governments (CMCOG) in collaboration with the City of Columbia and Richland County and supported by the following consultant team:
- Toole Design: Urban Design, Planning, Multimodal Transportation (Lead Firm)
- BAE Urban Economics: Market and Housing Analysis, Anti-displacement Strategies
- Planners for Environmental Quality (PEQ): Community Engagement
How can I get involved?
You’re invited to join us during the Community Planning Charrette for the Riverbanks Community Mobility Plan! This charrette is our team’s weeklong effort to learn about the study area, meet with community members, and develop the plan and its recommendations. There are three major opportunities for the public to get involved in the planning process during the week. For more information, please see the flyer below. We will also be looking for opportunities for our team to “pop-up” at community events and activities taking place around the study area so we can bring the planning process directly to you.