MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Making our roads more bike and pedestrian friendly is a two-way street. It won't just impact those of you who ride your bike or walk; new proposed changes for the City of Myrtle Beach could impact everyone.
Nearly five percent of people are walking to work in Myrtle Beach which is actually double the United States average. This shows how serious Myrtle Beach needs to be about creating more access to these paths.
On Tuesday, the City Council gave initial approval to the committee by passing the first reading of the ordinance to create the committee, said city spokesman Mark Kruea.
The goal is to form a group to focus full-time on improving conditions whether you bike, walk or even drive. A temporary committee has been meeting since October, but a new one would tackle the issues that crop up for decades to come. One of those proposed changes includes lowering the speed limit on some "bike-popular" roads, which would impact everyone. Also on the to-do list is taking a look at what intersections in the area need better signage. This could lead to future road projects to include bicycle and pedestrian-friendly designs, possibly adding more sidewalks, crosswalks and bike lanes, in our future.
The goal is simple: cutting down on the number of bike and pedestrian related deaths. Grand Strand Medical Center reported roughly 20 deaths since 2012. These changes would have a lasting impact for the area, because studies show both locals and tourists want to see bicycle-friendly roads too.
The city's temporary bicycle and pedestrian committee found bike-friendly roads mean potential growth for the Grand Strand. Surveys show when people want to move, one of their top priorities is access to areas for bike rides and walking. Walking and biking topped boating, fishing and even golf on the list.
It's not just about those who live here, tourists look for these opportunities when booking a trip. Research shows that Myrtle Beach could reel in about $60 million if bicycle-friendly becomes a priority.
"Bicycling and walking is a big industry nationally, and if we put on special events, festivals and things that draw people here, more marathons, more walking opportunities, more bicycle opportunities and things like that is really going to increase the economy," said Diane Moskow-Mckenzie, City of Myrtle Beach Senior Planner.
Those events like more triathlons, walks and races will help in the city's current push for sports tourism growth in our area.