Finance and Operations; OUR Clemson

Area experts share the vision of a new Perimeter Road as a gateway to campus and beyond


Perimeter Road construction is under way and will continue over the next 18 months. OUR Clemson collected input from leaders and stakeholders from the City of Clemson, the local trails community, South Carolina Botanical Garden and Clemson University to understand more about the project.

In monitoring daily traffic patterns on Perimeter Road, University Facilities noted that daily vehicular traffic had increased more than 30 percent in the three years between 2015 and 2018. These daily traffic patterns do not include those associated with football games.

In 2017, the University released its Long-Range Framework Plan to include enhancing and protecting green space corridors throughout the middle of campus. Additionally, the plan supports environmental sustainability while promoting health and wellness for active lifestyles for members of the Clemson community, building upon a master plan for campus bikeways to include a network of bike lanes, shared roadways, shared-use paths and mountain biking trails connecting the entire extended campus.

The Roadway Pedestrian Safety Enhancements Project was established to provide additional pedestrian facilities and vehicular capacity along Perimeter Road to continue to encourage Perimeter Road as the primary vehicular gateway to campus, while enhancing the experience for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists along Walter T. Cox Boulevard.

Insights from Area Experts

As work moves ahead, the following experts answered OUR Clemson’s questions:

  • Todd Barnette, chief facilities officer, Clemson University
  • Shannon Barrett, director, South Carolina Botanical Garden
  • Chad Carson, president, Friends of the Green Crescent Trail, a planned network of multimodal trails and connections
  • Robert Halfacre, mayor, City of Clemson

How long will this project take?

Todd Barnette, chief facilities officer, Clemson University: We’ve worked hard with our teams to reduce construction time. This project will take 18 months, and disruptions will be minimal and may include limited single lane closures and shifts.

What will it look like when the project’s done?

Todd Barnette, chief facilities officer, Clemson University:  Perimeter Road will be transformed from a two-lane road to a 48-foot-wide gateway to campus with two-lanes in each direction, a 15-foot-wide landscaped median, then a 5-foot-wide buffer before a 10-foot-wide multiuse path. Keeping the multipurpose path away from vehicles was an important safety measure. We’ll be adding curbs, gutters and shoulders to address safety requirements as well. If we can fast forward in our minds, walkers, runners, cyclists and drivers will really enjoy getting around campus. We’ve used this as an opportunity to extend the Green Crescent trail too, opening access to future miles and miles of pathways purely devoted to outdoor activities. Adding a 10-foot-wide multi-purpose path will improve campus safety and encourage active lifestyles.

The picture above illustrates the future look of Perimeter Road near Lightsey Bridge and the S.C. Botanical Gardens at dusk. Streetlights and a 10-foot-wide multi-purpose path will improve campus safety while promoting health and wellness for active lifestyles for members of the Clemson community.  

Are there any other unique features being added other than roads and sidewalks?

Todd Barnette, chief facilities officer, Clemson University:  Yes, Clemson’s design team designed three stormwater ponds to handle rainwater runoff. We coordinated with partners at The South Carolina Botanical Garden and The Walker Golf Course to understand their current issues and concerns regarding drainage. These three stormwater ponds will help prevent flooding in the garden and golf course.

The picture above illustrates the future look of Perimeter Road. 

Is the multipurpose trail along Perimeter Road a part of the City of Clemson’s Green Crescent Trail?

Chad Carson, president, Friends of the Green Crescent Trail: Yes, city and University planners have been working together for several years to connect different portions of multiuse trails between the city and the University, and the Perimeter Road section will be one of the first and most important City-University connections to be implemented. Upon completion, the University portion will be a 10-foot-wide, 1.2-mile multiuse path for pedestrians and cyclists, separated from the road by a landscaped median, along the north side of the road. It will connect to the city’s future Green Crescent Trail at Vineyard Road and Gateway Park and create a 3.2-mile recreational and alternative transportation connection between the city, the South Carolina Botanical Garden and the University.

How big is the existing Green Crescent Trail, and how do I find it?

Chad Carson, president, Friends of the Green Crescent Trail: The Green Crescent Trail is still in its early stages, but the City of Clemson will soon break ground in 2022 on a new 1.6-mile section of the trail beginning at Clemson Park, the city’s oldest park, and ending at Gateway Park on S.C. 93. This new phase will also connect to a recently built pump track and 1/4-mile loop trail at Clemson Park, as well as the Green Crescent Pedestrian Bridge which connects to Clemson Elementary School.

Q. What length will the Green Crescent Trail be and how long will it take?

Chad Carson, president, Friends of the Green Crescent Trail: A feasibility study shows this trailway could include about 40 miles of multi-modal pathways for cyclists, walkers, runners and others. If it is fully funded by the various municipalities, this network of trails would likely take about 20 years to complete and include connections in the towns of Central and Pendleton, which are still conceptual.

A glimpse into the proposed future of the City of Clemson’s most used parks, Nettles Part. 

Q. What other important landmarks does the Green Crescent Trail hope to connect?

Robert Halfacre, mayor, City of Clemson: In addition to being a pathway for recreation and alternative transportation, plans call for the Green Crescent Trail to also be an amenity that features the important historical and cultural landmarks of both the city and University. For example, early plans exist to connect the trail network to the Clemson Area African American Museum and the Arts Center of Clemson, both located at 212 Butler St. The Green Crescent Trail, as it has been presented to the community, will also include public art installations, historical markers, and potentially be part of a Black History Trail project on and off-campus.

This rendering shows what the Green Crescent Trail’s Phase I project at the entrance of Clemson Park on Skyview Drive will look like upon its completion, expected in 2022.

The SC Botanical Garden (SCBG) is adjacent to some of the project work under way. Can you offer the SCBG’s perspective including input from the community you are hearing?

Shannon Barrett, director, South Carolina Botanical Garden: We have worked hand-in-hand with university partners well in advance of the project to ensure that most of the construction disturbance is limited to the existing road right-of-way and will have little impact on the interior of the South Carolina Botanical Garden. We’ve heard from some community members who understandably feel a sense of loss for any tree along the project’s route, myself included, that had to be removed. We appreciate their concern because it demonstrates our community’s sense of connectedness to the natural environment. There are positive outcomes, including numerous long-term benefits such as a new wetland habitat, and safer access into and out of the garden for a growing number of patrons. We welcome visitors from near and far to visit the garden which remains open throughout the project as access to the garden will still be available. Come visit us!

What other projects are under way to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety on campus?

Todd Barnette, chief facilities officer, Clemson University: We have begun a project to install a sidewalk and lights along Old Stadium Road from Perimeter Road to the Madren Center. These will be installed on the north side of Old Stadium Road and on Madren Center Drive, and the project will enhance pedestrian safety for those walking between the campus and the Madren Center and Walker Golf Course. The plan is to have all this done by the start of the 2022 Fall semester. Parts of Old Stadium Road will be closed to cars, and drivers needing to get to the Madren Center should go there using Cherry Road instead. Next Summer we plan to proceed with the realignment of Old Stadium Road and Williamson Road to provide a much-improved intersection for pedestrians and vehicles. We are also partnering with the City of Clemson to install a traffic signal and turn lanes at Old Stone Church Road and West Cherry Road.