MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The federal government recognized the City of Myrtle Beach for its work improving pedestrian and bicycle safety at a summit on Friday.
City Councilman Randal Wallace and Planner Kelly Mezzapelle were in Washington at the 2016 Summit for Safer People, Safer Streets, where they accepted the Fix Barriers Award on behalf of Myrtle Beach.
The Department of Transportation awarded this for the city's efforts to work with the current infrastructure to find creative ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.
It's thanks to "walkability" audits on existing paths and sidewalks, an aggressive plan to win grant money to make improvements and adopt safer policies, that won the city the award.
"A couple of years ago, we set up a bicycle and pedestrian safety committee to look at opportunities in a really aggressive way," explained City Spokesperson Mark Kruea. "And that committee has done a number of things - Cyclovia, they've done a walkability audit downtown which partnered with other organizations in the area, the realtors association. So we really are taking advantage of the opportunities and seeking grants and outside assistance."
In 2015, The Department of Transportation challenged city leaders across the country to raise the bar for bicyclist and pedestrian safety by joining a year-long "Mayors' Challenge." The City of Myrtle Beach got on board.
It has conducted two "walkability" audits - one on Ocean Boulevard and one on Kings Highway that was just done in July.
The city also adopted the Complete Streets policy, committing to prioritize and integrate all road users into every transportation project in the future.
Myrtle Beach was among the 14 out of more than 245 communities across the country to be awarded by the DOT at the summit Friday.