More signs, vibrant bike lanes and entertainment shuttles: Myrtle Beach residents weigh in on how to make Ocean Boulevard safer
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - 1,014. That’s the number of car crashes on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach in the last five years.
Myrtle Beach City leaders are focusing on the problem, and that starts with hearing from you.
It’s an eye-catching number, one that both the City of Myrtle Beach and engineers working on a study of Ocean Boulevard would like to see cut down over the next couple of years, and stay down.
They had people write notes and stick them on the map for anyone who works, lives, plays on Ocean Boulevard to see what their thoughts are on making the area safer.
“Every day I was on the boulevard unless it was pouring down rain,” said CJ Walters, the owner of Boardwalk Bikes. “Riding a couple miles to work and a couple miles back.”
All those miles spent on Ocean Boulevard has CJ Walters pretty familiar with the parts that are friendly to cyclists - and the parts that aren’t so much.
“Anything you can do as a cyclist to mitigate that and be conscious of your surroundings, that’ll really lower your chance of getting into an accident, but there are other things you can do,” Walters said.
Walters came to an Ocean Boulevard Transportation Safety forum to make sure an engineering group studying the road is aware of his thoughts.
An engineer says Ocean Boulevard ranked in the top 10 of the state the past five years for the amount of pedestrian and cyclist crashes.
The team still has to go through Walters’ ideas and everything else Myrtle Beach residents brought to the table, but, they already have some places they’ll be focusing on when putting together a list of possible projects.
“People are wanting more alternatives to Ocean Boulevard,” said Brett McCutchan, an engineer with the Ocean Blvd. Transportation Study. “Wanting to see people a block over, more development there to get some of the people off Ocean Boulevard.”
The engineers will also study Highway 501, which is scheduled to be re-aligned by next summer, so it’ll directly connect with Ocean Boulevard.
That means they’ll be looking into ways of making sure visitors get off Highway 501 before they hit the beach, to cut down on congestion along Ocean Blvd.
“Look into contacting Google maps, and say, ‘Hey, can you change up the best route and make this the best route?’ We just need to know where they’re going.” McCutchan said.
Walters got to make all of his recommendations on behalf of all his customers at his bike shop, now he’ll just have to wait and see which ones made the cut.
“There’s some things that we can do and some things they’ve addressed as well, so we’re looking forward to what’s going to be happening,” said McCutchan.
A few notes submitted Tuesday night include
- Paint the bicycle lanes,
- shut down Ocean Boulevard on the weekends, and
- more uniform signage.
The engineers said all ideas are welcome and they will take all those ideas into account for a plan they’ll present at another meeting later this summer.
City leaders will use that plan as a blueprint for development along Ocean Boulevard.
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