JUST IN: Golf carts banned along parts of Ocean Boulevard during Memorial Day weekend

JUST IN: Golf carts banned along parts of Ocean Boulevard during Memorial Day weekend

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Golf carts will be restricted on parts of Ocean Boulevard over the Memorial Day weekend, according to a directive sent to Myrtle Beach Police from the city manager.

The ban will span Ocean Boulevard south of 29th Avenue North next Friday starting at 12:01 a.m., and ending on Monday once the barricades used for the traffic loop are removed.

"This order only affects this section of Ocean Boulevard. It does not mean that golf cars cannot be rented or used during Memorial Day weekend. It only means that the Police will not allow them to enter this portion of Ocean Boulevard," City Manager John Pederson said in an emailed statement.

He went on to explain his decision for this restriction:

There are two contributing factors to this decision.  First, during this period almost all of the streets intersecting Ocean Boulevard south of 29th North will be barricaded off.  Those that are not barricaded off (where there's a stop light on Kings Highway) are barricaded off from the side streets so that they only provide access from Kings Highway to the Boulevard.  The second factor is that State law prohibits golf carts on Kings Highway.

Because of the placement of the barricades, and the State's ban on golf carts on Kings Highway, there is no practical and legal way for a golf cart in that section of Ocean Boulevard to return to the rental agency or to the hotel where the person renting it is staying.  In short, the one-way southbound  traffic can't turn right off most streets because of the barricades.  The few that would allow a right turn lead them only to Kings Highway where again they are stymied by State law. 

Once the golf carts go past 29th North they cannot turn around and come back because of the one-way street configuration.  Finally, the carts can't ride to the end of the Boulevard because they cannot use Kings Highway to return.  Since there is no legal and practical way for these vehicles to exit from that portion of the Boulevard during this time, in my judgment we have no choice but to prohibit them from entering that section.

The over-riding priority of the Memorial Day Bike Week Plan is making this event safe for our residents, our guests, and our staff.  Secondarily, we make every reasonable effort not to burden the City's businesses, but unfortunately it is just not possible to avoid this entirely.  I regret that this restriction negatively impacts the golf cart rental businesses, but I think this step is necessary in light of our primary goal. 

Pederson based the restriction on a resolution passed by city council back in March declaring the upcoming holiday weekend an "extraordinary event" that would allow the manager to take all steps necessary to keep locals and visitors safe.

"Pursuant to R2016-15, and Ordinance 2015-31, I hereby authorize the Police Department to prohibit all golf carts (excepting those used by law enforcement) from Ocean Boulevard south of 29th Avenue North between Friday 5/27/2016 at 12:01 AM and Monday 5/30/2016 until the traffic control devices on Ocean Boulevard are removed," Pederson's email to MBPD read.

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