Myrtle Beach not enacting traffic loop for Memorial Day weekend

Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 10:38 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The loop that routed traffic to Highway 31 will not be used for Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach again this year.

The city previously implemented a one-way traffic loop forcing all traffic on Ocean Boulevard to run southbound, with northbound lanes reserved for emergency vehicles.

The traffic loop was at the center of a lawsuit that was filed by the NAACP in February 2018, where the group accused the city and the police department of implementing policies that discriminate against the mostly African American attendees that come to Myrtle Beach for the Atlantic Beach Bikefest.

The city said the bike loop was put in place to create a safer environment.

“The loop wasn’t in the plan last year, either, and wasn’t used for two years before that, when it was still in the plan,” said city spokesperson Mark Kruea. “The decision not to include it in the 2022 plan is not related to any legal action.”

Kruea also said one-way traffic will be used on Ocean Boulevard to facilitate timely response by first responders.

“The plan is about safety,” said MCpl. Tom Vest of the Myrtle Beach Police Department. “Everything about it relates to safety and being able to get in and respond to emergency situations with the fire department and EMS as well. That lane gives us access to the entire boulevard.”

Vest added that drivers planning to be around the boulevard should remain vigilant, adding they want to make sure everyone stays safe as more people come into Myrtle Beach.

“For car drivers, check your blind spots,” he said. “Give motorcycles a little extra space. Motorcycles can be hard to see. They can move in and out of traffic quickly, so it’s important that you look out for motorcycle riders. Ride predictably, don’t speed, use your turn signals.”

The 23-mile loop was first put in place in 2015 to prevent gridlock and make way for first responders as thousands of tourists and bikers filled the city.

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