The city of Myrtle Beach has won recognition from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation for its audits of bike and pedestrian safety.
The city is a winner in DOT’s “Mayor’s Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets,” aimed at organizing cities in ensuring bicycle and pedestrian safety. Planner Kelly Mezzapelle and Councilman Randal Wallace accepted the commendation Friday in Washington, D.C. They met with representatives from other winning cities, including New York, Los Angeles, D.C. and Brownsville, Texas.
“It kind of give us some affirmation that we’re on the right track with some of the things that we’re doing with our bicycle and pedestrian improvements,” Mezzapelle said.
Wallace called the experience an “honor.” “I got to shake hands with the Secretary (of Transportation Anthony Foxx) and learn a lot of things about pedestrian safety and bicycle safety while we were there,” he said.
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The city received special attention for its recent bicycle and walking audits, which were designed to explore what it is like to walk and bike in the city.
“We all got on our bikes and rode Ocean Boulevard, which a lot of people who were out there with us had never really done before,” Mezzapelle said of the bike study. She said this perspective, in addition to overhead views, was crucial to understanding the cyclist’s experience in Myrtle Beach.
Planning director Carol Coleman said the award will be a good thing for the city moving forward, even though it did not bring a grant or cash prize with it.
“It’s kind of a feather in our cap, and we can call on this and put this on applications for things,” Coleman said.
Mezzapelle also said the summit where awards were presented was a great networking experience and enabled her to hear ideas from other cities.
The recognition aligns with some of the city’s long-term goals, Coleman said.
“We want to become walk-friendly and bike-friendly. We want people to know that they can come here and find safe places to get around without worrying about their safety,” Coleman said.