MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes makes it a point to be out among the Bikefest and Memorial Day weekend crowds so he can get a true taste of what first responders, visitors and locals alike are experiencing.
What he noticed this year was a bit different.
"A calm weekend in comparison," Rhodes said.
For that, he thanked law enforcement and the 23-mile traffic loop.
"No, it's not going anywhere. I don't think there is a probably. I can tell you right now it's not going anywhere, period," Rhodes said.
While changes were made to the loop this year based off of need and weather, Rhodes said it's important to remember each event that takes place in the city calls for a different plan of action.
"The people who come to the bike festival are interested in being in their cars and riding," he said. "The loop helps that move."
As far as the other measures taken, Rhodes said they also serve a purpose.
"So, the barricades are the only way we can protect our pedestrians who are walking down the street," he said.
Those barricades, according to Rhodes, prevent people from crossing the street wherever they want and getting hit. While some aren't happy with what these changes do to their Memorial Day business. the mayor said safety is No. 1.
"If we have people on the boulevard and the businesses are not happy, I'm sorry for them, they have to get over it," he said.
Something else Rhodes noticed this past weekend is something he's certainly smiling about.
"Which was really pleasant … was a lot of families on the beach, and it's been a long time since that's happened," he said.
Lt. Joey Crosby with the Myrtle Beach Police Department said the goal of a safety first weekend was met and local police will come together with the weekend's visiting agencies and discuss what worked, and what could be improved.
All of this will be incorporated in the planning for next year.