MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Federal Highway Administration just awarded the City of Myrtle Beach a grant for a bicycle road safety audit. Myrtle Beach is one of only two cities to win this grant.
FHA staff came into town Tuesday and will be here through Thursday conducting the survey and coming up with some possible solutions to help improve bicycle safety.
The focus of the study is from 6th Avenue South to 31st Avenue North on Ocean Boulevard, which has been determined to be a fairly dangerous stretch of roadway over the years by reported bicycle accidents. According to FHA staff, police reports recorded 27 accidents in the city of Myrtle Beach along Ocean Boulevard from 2009-2014. Fourteen of those accidents were reported in the survey area.
"Hopefully we're moving in the direction now that we're solving some of these problems," says Ryan Harvey, a city engineer. "But maybe just seeing it from a different perspective will help us understand what the problems are. And we can address them maybe more efficiently, maybe more cost effectively."
Tuesday the group met to discuss how the process would work then they toured the survey area in a van. The group is made up of two FHA staff members, city leaders, Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee members, and officials from the police and fire service.
The team stopped at each intersection where a crash was reported to see what might have caused it and what could be fixed so a crash like that does not happen again.
"We've generally just looked at crashes and crash data," says Tom Rousso, the vice chairman for the Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee. "Rather than really understanding who were the sources of those crashes. We have our perceptions and views of those. But we really don't know. So we wanted to use this as an opportunity to study that data and be able to understand it."
On Wednesday, the crew will tour the same stretch of Ocean Boulevard on bicycles and then meet afterwards to brainstorm what can be done to make the bike lanes, sidewalks, and roads safer.
Finally, on Thursday, the FHA team members will present a preliminary report of possible solutions and suggestions.