An Horry County bicycle and pedestrian path plan got one step closer to passage Tuesday, on the same day South Carolina received a lower ranking as a bicycle-friendly state that it did a year earlier.
The County Council passed second reading of an ordinance to include a county bicycle and pedestrian plan as part of the Horry County Comprehensive Plan, Envision 2025, an effort to help manage present and future growth.
It must pass a third reading before formal adoption.
David Schwerd, with Horry County Planning and Zoning, said they are in the early stages of getting a bicycle and pedestrian path in Carolina Forest. Future paths are hoped for Briarcliffe Acres in the North Myrtle Beach area.
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The goal is have the comprehensive plan adopted by the council to help secure some grant funding, Schwerd added.
Cost for the individual projects will vary depending on right-of-way acquisition and other factors.
“(If there are) significant drainage impacts, the cost goes up,” Schwerd said.
Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman, previously said the total cost for the Carolina Forest path project is $6 million. No funding is in place.
The first phase of that project, which would run from Carolina Forest Boulevard and Gateway Drive at Carolina Forest Elementary School to Walkers Woods, would cost almost $1 million.
Then there’s an effort to tie the bike path in with the East Coast Greenway that crosses S.C. 31.
That could help make federal dollars available for the Carolina Forest bike path. The Greenway is a trail system that organizers hope will connect all major cities along the eastern seaboard.
Bo Ives, president of the Carolina Forest Civic Association, told council members this is a two-year process that also includes pedestrian access to the spine of Carolina Forest Boulevard.
“Ultimately, we look for bike paths throughout the community (of Horry County),” Ives said. “And the primary concern is safety.”
Safety is one of the criteria the League of American Bicyclists use to determine which states are the most bicycle-friendly.
South Carolina came in at No. 34 in the League’s ranking for 2012, falling from 32 in 2011.
The Palmetto State ranked high in education, specifically through the Safe Streets Save Lives bicycle campaign, according to a press release.
South Carolina received low marks in dedicated bicycle facility funding and evaluation and planning.
“Our state continues to make strides in areas of bicycle safety, but we still have a long way to go,” said Amy Johnson, executive director of Palmetto Cycling Coalition.