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Residents upset over proposed plans to change parking along 'Golden Mile'

People who live along the "Golden Mile" in Myrtle Beach say city leaders are taking their neighborhoods hostage.

Many were upset over recommendations released Tuesday night that would change parking conditions along Ocean Boulevard between 31st Avenue North and 52nd Avenue North.

The proposed plans would eliminate parking on the east side of Ocean Boulevard. Then on the west side, parking would be organized with pavement markings. Non-city residents would have to "pay-by-phone" to use those spots with rates at $3 per hour or $15 per day.

"The goal with the recommendations was to deal with the safety problem the residents of the 'Golden Mile' had identified for us," City Manager John Pedersen said. "When we looked at what it would take to solve that issue, a number of other issues came up because there are a number of dominoes that fall if we do that."

Part of that domino effect is dealing with the overflow of drivers that would then begin to use the avenues along Ocean Boulevard to park.

"Our proposal to deal with that is to limit the people who can park in the avenues to city residents only," Pedersen said.

The avenue parking restrictions would run from May 15th to September 15th under this proposed plan, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

There would be no more parking along Beach Drive, and public access areas would become pay-by-phone parking as well.

"I'm not sure we achieved it," Pedersen said. "My hope was they would understand the basis for the recommendation."

While safety has been a long time concern, it took a backseat to people's concerns for their property.

"This is not a problem to rest on the backs of the 'Golden Mile' or even of just Myrtle Beach," said resident David Martin.

Many of the dozens who came out Tuesday night wanted to keep the charm of the "Old Golden Mile."

"This is traditionally a neighborhood area, so this large influx of unorganized parking in the summertime is a little bit counterintuitive to the neighborhood character," Mark Kruea, with the City of Myrtle Beach, said. "We're trying to draft some compromise."

However, it's a compromise that may not happen for a while.

"We're going to work on it. We're going to try. We're going to look at all the different opportunities that may be there," Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said. "If we can do it by May 15th, that would be great. I'm just not counting on it."

The recommended plan would cost the city $53,000 to implement.

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