MB subcommittee works to improve safety and availability for walkers, cyclists

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The City of Myrtle Beach's Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety subcommittee that looks at improving safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, is breaking new ground.

The inconvenience and lack of safety for people walking, running or riding a bike is something tourists and locals have been concerned about.

The group has spent the past nine months working to find a solution. It came to a head yesterday, when it presented to the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission. The group asked for an endorsement to move on to present to Myrtle Beach City Council. The endorsement was given.

The biggest changes the group wants to push - what they're calling "iconic loop routes". The main loop is a 26-and-a-half mile, multi-use path. The idea is to connect commercial centers like Ocean Boulevard, the Market Common and Broadway at the Beach, to visitor, worker and residential locations.

It would be used for training and recreation, so visitors and locals alike could utilize the paths and spend more time outside for leisure or exercise. Much of that loop already has trails, but some would need repair and connections between certain points would have to be made.

Within the large loop, smaller loops would be connected or improved for families who don't want to bike long distances, so they have some place to go as well.

It's going to help keep people on foot or bicycle, stay safe by giving them their own connected routes and way to get around.

Bill Pritchard is the Chairman of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee. He's also on the planning commission for the City of Myrtle Beach. He says besides safety, the biggest benefit of the new trails would be economic.

"It's connecting together a lot of the activity areas, the commercial areas," according to Pritchard. "In addition to that, as soon as there's activity, you're going to see people wanting to open new businesses along the route, too. So you can see some economic growth as well as just growth of the existing businesses because of something like this."

Pritchard says the groups' main focus is to designate Myrtle Beach as a Walk Friendly Community by 2020, as well as a Bicycle Friendly Community by 2020. It also wants to establish a standing Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee to carry forward work done by the subcommittee.

It's all up to city council. The group will present on Tuesday, June 24 at 9 a.m. at City Hall.

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