23-mile traffic loop set to return to Bikefest 2016

23-mile traffic loop set to return to Bikefest 2016

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The 23-mile traffic loop enforced during Memorial Day weekend will be back up and running next year.

According to Lt. Joey Crosby with Myrtle Beach Police Department, the main goal of the task force was to create a safer environment for the attendees, the citizens of Horry County, and also the public service personnel that come in to assist with Bikefest.

"That's going to be our goals again for this year," said Crosby. "We felt the ideas that were implemented last year helped us to achieve that goal and certainly as we critique last year's event, we will continue to plan for the 2016 event."

The 23-mile loop takes you all the way out to Highway 31, and then eventually funnels them back in towards Ocean Boulevard, with the main goal of safety in mind.

"Things that were identified from last year's critique were issues with quality of life issues, such as noise complaints, traffic complaint," Lt. Crosby said. "So those are things we're going to look at this year and going to try to identify some additional resources that will handle those issues."

The task force, who created the traffic loop, was formed after three people were shot and killed in eight separate shootings during the 2014 Bikefest. There were no shooting deaths last Memorial Day weekend in the area.

Police say the idea behind the loop is to keep traffic moving, and bikers say traffic does creep along, but that slow pace has brought up some other problems, like bikers running out of gas and not being able to exit the loop, and also running hot from sitting stagnant on the road.

Crosby said they have already begun planning for next year, assessing if additional equipment and officers are needed and addressing those issues.

"We're going to also start the educational component of our operational plan. We want to get the information out to public as quickly as possible so they can make whatever adjustments they need to make to their schedules. Or identify the routes to and from their homes or to and from their business. We still start that very soon, getting that information out in meetings and through social media."

According to Crosby, the educational component of the operational plan is very important. He said last year, a lot of time and effort was put into getting traffic loop information out through traditional means, meetings, and via social media. Crosby said they are going to start early to get that information out, so they can be transparent with their operational plan that way you can know exactly what will be going on that weekend.

Randy Webster, Director of Horry County Emergency Management, said most of the preliminary changes to the traffic loop have been compiled. He will be presenting that information during Coastal Alliance meeting on January 6.

As of right now they haven't set a date for the first task force meeting.

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