Neighbors hopeful speed signs will make roadway safer; look to future improvements

Neighbors hopeful speed signs will make roadway safer; look to future improvements

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Market Common area is attracting more people.  But, the flat roads often used as cut-throughs are also attracting speedy drivers.  It's a worry for those who call the area home.

"That's the thing I hear a lot is 'oh, I don't want to go on the road with these crazy cars'...and the city, meanwhile, is trying to promote cycling...and they've done a lot for that it's one of the challenges...and on this road it's a big issue," said Dave Aguilar, sales manager at the Bicycle Company.

Aguilar said he tries to steer most of his customers to the bike paths towards Market Common, However, the challenge, he said, is people are coming off of 17 Bypass at high speeds and ignoring the '35 miles per hour' sign change on Coventry Blvd.  The boulevard is growing in popularity as more people realize its easy access to and from Farrow Parkway.

"More people are aware of this road, and more homes are being built as you can see..there's going to be four or five hundred, big problem," Mary Migliaro said.  She lives in the area and walks the sidewalks when it's warm.  "That makes me nervous with the way cars are flying by me, because I know they're going past the speed limit while they do that," she added.

It's bicyclists, walkers and people riding in golf carts the high speeds effect.

Ray Swisher is currently a "snowbird," but has plans to move permanently to Myrtle Beach within the next few months.  "You know, at only going 15 miles an hour on a golf cart you can get run over in a hurry if people aren't paying attention, or on their cell phones or it is dangerous, yes," Swisher said.

Myrtle Beach Police spokesman Lt. Joey Crosby said police listened to concerns voiced at neighborhood watch meetings.  Police have recently installed electronic speed signs with messages to "drive safely" and "area strictly enforced."

Aguilar, Migliaro and Swisher agreed they've seen a heavier police presence in the last few months.  The speed citation records for Coventry Blvd. reflects the incentive to enforce speeding.

According to the Myrtle Beach Police Department, 14 speeding citations were given at Coventry Blvd. in November 2016.  But, 42 citations for speeding were given on the boulevard for both December 2016 and January 2017.

Swisher was astonished the numbers only hit 42 for January.  "I'm astonished it's only forty, I would think more than forty people speed here in half a day...let alone a whole day.  So, it doesn't surprise me at all," Swisher said.

Aguilar agreed ticketing heavily is the way to go.  "So I think heavy enforcement, when you have a really bad road like a target road like this one...having police presence and just ticketing heavily.  There's nothing wrong with doing that.  People are speeding, they're putting people in danger...that's what they should get."

Aguilar said at least Coventry Blvd.'s sidewalk is designated for biking, so many bicyclists aren't forced to use the road.

However, as development continues down Coventry Blvd., WMBF News is told the added traffic mixed with speed will create more dangerous problems.

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.