Business owners say new Ocean Blvd. traffic patterns are causing chaos downtown

Business owners say new Ocean Blvd. traffic patterns are causing chaos downtown

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Lane changes put in place on Ocean Boulevard are already causing issues for business owners.

Part of the road was reduced from four lanes of travel to two, with a third lane for turning traffic and delivery trucks.

However, business owners say there's not enough room for delivery trucks and it's causing traffic backups.

"We've got all of the traffic trying to get through here, and this is a good idea how?" said business owner William Hovis.

Hovis caught the problem on video Wednesday. Cellphone video shows delivery trucks parking in both the middle lane and the bike lane, making it a tight squeeze for cars to get through.

"Somebody's going to get hurt. The deliveries park there. Now if you have somebody that parks in the outer northbound lane and you have someone trying to squeeze through, they're not going to see somebody trying to cross the street," Hovis said.

"I recognize it's going to be a learning curve for the delivery trucks. They should park in the middle because it's illegal to park in the bicycle lane," said city spokesman Mark Kruea.

Hovis feels there's just not enough room for delivery trucks to park on this block of Ocean Boulevard. He said since there are several stores stretching from Ninth Avenue North to 10th Avenue North, trucks are dropping off merchandise every day.

"We're not busy yet. June, July 4th, when the place is packed with tourists, this is even a bigger concern because more trucks are going to be delivering the busier weekends so we have merchandise for all the people in town," Hovis said. "Now you've got 20 trucks trying to deliver instead of 10 trucks and 100,000 people in town instead of 5,000."

He said the new lane change poses a threat to pedestrians.

"Somebody crossing the street, someone trying to get around someone who's parked. It's just … it's a bad idea. They should have just left it like it was. It's been working since the days of the pavilion. It was never a problem for the businesses," Hovis said. "Now it's not just a concern for businesses but also public safety."

Before this lane change, Ninth to 14th avenues north were the only roads with four lanes of travel. Kruea said the city wanted the entire boulevard to be on the same page.

"The plan includes making it more uniform, providing extra space and providing bicycle lanes. It gives a little more room between the people on the sidewalk and the vehicles on the road," he said.

According to Kruea, this new road configuration may not be permanent. He said crews only did the new lines in paint, so if it doesn't work out it could easily be scraped up and repainted.

Kruea said they're hoping to try it through the summer.

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