Myrtle Beach officials declined to say how the city would respond if a federal judge bars them from implementing a traffic loop during Memorial Day weekend.
City spokesman Mark Kruea declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation, when asked how the city would respond if it can’t implement the loop as planned.
This week, a federal judge is scheduled to listen to oral arguments as the NAACP seeks an injunction to stop the 2018 traffic loop during Memorial Day weekend. The judge could issue a ruling as part of Tuesday’s proceedings, but it’s not guaranteed.
Earlier this year, the NAACP filed a lawsuit against Myrtle Beach and its police department. The heart of the lawsuit is a 23-mile traffic loop, which the NAACP called discriminatory.
The loop was first implemented in 2015 for Atlantic Beach Bikefest, commonly referred to as "Black Bike Week." The loop came out of the aftermath of the 2014 violence that left three dead and seven injured from eight reported shootings along Ocean Boulevard.
The loop turns Ocean Boulevard into a one-way road and funnels traffic out to George Bishop Parkway and back to Ocean Boulevard.
City officials said the loop is intended to control traffic, ease congestion and reduce crime.
Even as the injunction hearing approaches, local government groups are preparing for bike week as normal.
Atlantic Beach Town Manager Benjamin Quattlebaum said the biggest change to the town’s bike week activities is to have a single entertainment area along 30th Avenue.
“All the entertainment will be free for the weekend,” Quattlebaum said.
Last year there were two locations and both charged admission, Quattlebaum said. But, attendance was sparse so officials decided to have one free location in 2018.
Last week marked the end of the traditional registration for vendors, but Quattlebottom didn’t have a definitive figure on how many would be in Atlantic Beach. Vendors can still register in the coming weeks, but there is an extra $100 cost.