A city with plans to make bicycles the only means of transportation is soon to rise in South Carolina. As early as the 90s, Bicycle City LLC from Ohio came out with an idea of a Bicycle City. It has invested $1 million, acquiring 140 acres of property in Gaston, somewhere not far from Columbia.
Joe Mellett and Newton Boykin, co-developers of the project, are hopeful that sometime in autumn a car-free community will rise in Lexington County, South Carolina. Bill Nesper, director of the League of American Bicyclists believes the project to be promising. He stated, “The concept behind building Bicycle City is one that we support. A community that is built around bicycles is awesome – I hope it’s a success.”
He further added, “It seems to me that the places people are starting to want to live in, work in and visit are places that build good facilities for bicycling and encourage bicycling throughout the community. So, yes, this seems to be a place where people would want to move.”
A lot of considerations were taken into serious evaluation and Gaston appeared as the most ideal location. Its climate is temperate the whole year round and best suited for cycling. In addition, a 50 minute bike ride could get you at the Columbia Amtrak train station, which is soon to inaugurate a closer extension by the end of the year. Gaston also has good water quality and fresh air. Around the town, you’ll find organic markets nearby and a college as well. Last, but not the least, the League of American Bicyclists Bike-Friendly City program has awarded Columbia a bronze level status.
As illustrated on its website, Bicycle City is an eco-friendly and car-free community. Car owners are given access to park on the edge of the community nearest to their homes. Initial offerings include 10 homes or properties with an area of 800 – 1600 square feet with solar and wind powered energy capabilities. Its maiden offering prices will start at $100,000.
“South Carolina in general has a lot of bicycle-friendly areas and communities. It makes sense to do something like this in a state where the people already understand the concept. It’s also an affordable place to live, with a mild temperature, and it seems to make sense,” according to Nesper.
Bicycle City may not be the first of its kind, however, Ozzie Nagler, an internationally renowned land planner, believes he could turn the town into the next tourist attraction. He is now working on Harbison and Three Rivers Greenway nearby, constructing paths of a non-asphalt system for bikes and trails across the community.
There is another project underway located outside of Oakland, California of the same concept and design. Bicycle City is not the first car-free city in the US. There is also the City of Vauban, the only German cycling city, with a population of 5,000. It was built five years ago and is still drawing attention.