MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) – New signs in a small dirt lot, have made it harder for some people to enjoy a popular walk and bike trail in Murrells Inlet, according to a number of WMBF viewers.
Viewers reached out to WMBF News after new “No Parking” signs were placed in the small lot along Highway 17 Business, just before it merges onto Highway 17 Bypass. Before the signs, people were able to park in the unpaved lot and walk across the street in order to enjoy a trail that goes into the Litchfield area.
The “No Parking” signs were placed in the lot by the South Carolina Department of Transportation. The agency said safety concerns were raised as parking in the area grew over the years.
“Vehicles are typically parked at 90 degrees to the roadway,” the SCDOT said in an email to WMBF News. “As a result, vehicles generally back into US-17 Business when leaving, and pedestrians (including children) have to cross US-17 Business to access the multi-use path.”
The agency added that the 90-degree parking is prohibited under SCDOT’s Access and Roadside Management Standards policy and that drivers speeding from the Highway 17 Bypass onto Business 17 may not expect pedestrians crossing the road.
The SCDOT determined that the most effective safety measure would be to prohibit parking in the lot.
The agency said it has received several complaints about the “No Parking” signs and brought up that there are several other areas along Highway 17 Business where cars must back out onto the roadway.
“Many of these areas had such parking prior to the adoption of the current guidelines; many are established businesses where there is no alternative now because of surround development; many of these areas have an established expectancy of pedestrian traffic, and the speed limits may be lower with a reasonable degree of driver compliance,” the SCDOT explained.
But due to the high level of interest from the community, the SCDOT and Georgetown County are working together to see if the unpaved lot can be modified and provide parking in a safer manner.
Georgetown County spokesperson Jackie Broach confirmed that members of their staff recently met with the SCDOT. She said that they have created a conceptual design proposal and the SCDOT will survey the area to gather additional information that will be incorporated into a final design.
The SCDOT said that preliminary engineering efforts are being performed to confirm right of way and drainage in the area to help develop a design.
WMBF News will continue to follow this story and will bring you updates on the proposed plan.
Conceptual design plan created by Georgetown County below: