One end of Seaside Drive in Surfside Beach will become a one-way street while the other will add metered parking spaces, after a Town Council vote Tuesday.
Council members voted 4-3 Tuesday to make Seaside Drive on the south end of the pier one way from First Avenue South to Third Avenue South, and from Fourth Avenue South to Sixth Avenue South.
Administrator Micki Fellner said the suggestion came from the parking committee and has two functions – to alleviate congestion during the summer and to make travel easier for emergency vehicles. Currently, she the town’s smallest fire truck is the only one able to make turns on the narrow street. Making it one-way would allow all fire trucks to easily pass.
Mayor Doug Samples, Councilwoman Mary Beth Mabry and Councilman Mark Johnson all voted against the change, saying the property owner’s should have been contacted before the decision.
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In addition to questioning why all property owners on Seaside Drive weren’t contacted for input, Johnson said he didn’t think the change was necessary.
“To be honest with you I disagree,” Johnson said of the congestion issues in the summer. “I’ve lived here since 1985 and I go down there all the time and I haven’t seen a major problem. To me it seems like its contrived or somebody’s trying to push something through that doesn’t need to be pushed through.”
Fellner said there haven’t been accidents, though that doesn’t mean crashes aren’t possible.
Mabry also asked about the signage and worried about cars driving in the wrong direction.
“It’s nice to redirect traffic, but it’s not nice if it’s not an easy flow,” she said. “It’s not going to be an easy flow unless we have proper signage. Not only is it going to cost, and that’s ok, but it’s got to be clear. It’s got to be extremely clear because now you are going to have an accident.”
Councilman Randle Stevens didn’t think that would be an issue.
“I think the only reason you would drive down a one-way street is you’re either intoxicated or your blind,” he said. “I think this is a good thing.”
Fellner said signs would be at the intersections and arrows would be painted on the streets.
A date to begin changing the traffic pattern has not been announced, but Fellner said the goal is to make the change before the summer tourist season.
The metered spaces would be installed on the right-of-way on Seaside Drive North. Fellner said 14 spaces were identified on the road that runs behind the oceanfront homes between the pier and Third Avenue North.