MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Start collecting that extra change because parking meter season returns to Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, March 1. Be prepared to pay for parking in commercial areas east of Kings Highway. Last year, charging to park at the Golden Mile residential beach accesses caused some backlash. But, the city's spokesman said the 2016 changes worked the way city council hoped.
"The non-residents certainly weren't happy to pay to park when they were going to the beach for free...we probably should have put paid parking there from the beginning, ten years ago when we started pay parking...but it has worked very well for the neighbors and residents," Myrtle Beach spokesman Mark Kruea said. "City council's goal was to protect those neighborhoods. That parking obviously is in high demand...the transition was more smooth than I think, we expected it to be...by adding the pay stations there it will give the folks who have to pay to park an easier option," he continued.
This year, the city is bringing more change to work out a few kinks. The city didn't originally order the pay stations to eliminate an extra cost. Pay stations are being added to the residential street ends to provide more options for payment. As it is now, payment is only accepted through the 'Parkmobile' phone app. Kruea said the phone app wasn't convenient and sometimes confusing. Those pay stations have been ordered, and are on their way, he said. They will accept coins, cash and credit and debit cards.
Kruea said the signs at Golden Mile beach access are in the process of being fixed.
Myrtle Beach is expanding parking areas for non-resident placard holders. Last year people who bought those non-resident placards could only park in two downtown parking lots. This year, parking as been expanded to 21st Ave. N to 6th S, and 69th Ave N up to 77th Ave. N. Kruea said non-resident decal parking is not available in the residential areas, and to not expect that to change.
You can register for a resident parking decal online. Kruea said the laws are fair because residents pay city taxes, therefore paying for parking, while non-residents don't pay city taxes.
"I think city council and the neighbors were very pleased with how things went last year. The goal was to move those cars to more commercials areas and protect the neighborhoods, and that occurred. I know that the non-residents prefer to go to the beach in that location, we've got sixty miles of beaches you can go to...or you can pay to park in that high demand area," Kruea said.
Parking meter revenue pays for public projects in the Boardwalk area and streetscape improvements. It also goes towards additional parking areas, parking identification and encourages turnover so more people can park.
The non-resident parking placard is available for $100 annually. That will allow parking at any public metered space between 21st Avenue North and Sixth Avenue South and in the street ends from 69th Avenue North to 77th Avenue North. Seven-day parking passes also are available for $30.
If your vehicle has a valid handicapped hang tag or license plate, or a Purple Heart, DAV or Medal of Honor license plate, you may park free at any public meter in South Carolina.
Parking meter season ends Oct. 31st.