Changes could be coming to a thoroughfare in Myrtle Beach.
By a unanimous vote, the city’s planning commission last week approved a resolution urging the Myrtle Beach council to, in conjunction with the Department of Transportation, gradually reduce speed, implement a phased reduction of lanes and improve bicyclist, pedestrian and crosswalk infrastructure on Kings Highway from 12th Avenue North to 82nd Parkway.
The changes supported by the board call for reducing the amount of lanes from six to four.
“This can be done with a minimal amount of money initially with just re-striping,” said planning commission member Zeb Thomas. “We’re not talking about spending millions of dollars initially. We’re talking about a few thousand.”
The Myrtle Beach Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee passed a similar resolution.
A Benchmark Planning study presented to the council in February includes a vision for the Kings Highway corridor complete with new streetscapes and intersections with the goal of calming traffic and increasing safety, officials said.
Planning Director Carol Coleman said she’s spoken to city council members about the matter and that some of them remarked the council should consider changes to the road.
“I think they are receptive,” Coleman said.
Planning commission member Don Shanks said prior resolutions have been sent to the city council with no changes being made.
“A lot of these things have not materialized,” he said, adding other areas in the city could also benefit from such changes.
Thomas and Bill Pritchard, who chairs the city planning commission, are in favor of commission members attending the city council meeting where the changes will be presented.
“Having virtually all of us show up at the presentation of this would be a kicker,” Pritchard said.
Paul Silverman believes the changes would bring a mixed bag.
While he acknowledged the road may end up being safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, the manager of Eagles Beachwear located at Kings Highway and 31st Avenue North suspects traffic would become clogged.
“Traffic wise, I think it’s a bad idea,” he said. “It’s going to be a traffic jam I think.”
He pointed out that there is already a bike lane in the northern tip of the city on Ocean Boulevard, adding many entrances for boulevard hotels are located on the numbered northern avenues.
Silverman said traffic on the road varies, but that he sees more of it during the summer months, especially in the vicinity of the downtown area.
“Down here, it’d be a big jam,” he said.