If all goes as Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes hopes, a portion of Ocean Boulevard downtown would be shut down from Easter to Labor Day to allow only pedestrian traffic at night as soon as this year.
The mayor has proposed allowing room for more pedestrians on the section of Ocean Boulevard from Seventh Avenue North to Mr. Joe White from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. would encourage those people to go into the shops instead of drive past them.
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“If you’re in your car and riding, you’re not spending,” he said. “Think about Broadway at the Beach. They park there and walk. They park there and spend money. So why would they not spend money on the Boulevard?”
The Downtown Redevelopment Corp. board members said Wednesday during their annual retreat that they agreed with the concept and would look into the logistics before sending a recommendation to City Council.
Rhodes said the idea stems from what is done in the French Quarter in New Orleans, where Bourbon Street and surrounding roads are open during the day to allow deliveries to restaurants and shops, but closed at night to allow pedestrians to easily walk around.
“The sidewalks aren’t very wide [in downtown Myrtle Beach] and it gets crowded,” Rhodes said.