Side streets take drivers nowhere on Kings Highway, Ocean Boulevard

Traffic jams and the loop irritate locals, bikers at Bikefest

Traffic could barely move on Kings Highway as locals and tourists were aggravated with the traffic patterns and the loop created for Memorial Weekend Bikefest on Saturday.
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Traffic could barely move on Kings Highway as locals and tourists were aggravated with the traffic patterns and the loop created for Memorial Weekend Bikefest on Saturday.

Traffic was jamming on South Kings Highway on Saturday with passengers of cars, souped-up mo-peds and tricked-out motorcycles dancing to tunes as they crept northward at a snail’s pace.

It took Cindy Goodwin’s neighbor an hour and 17 minutes to make a two-block trek to Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at 17th Avenue South and Kings Highway, Goodwin said outside her 15th Avenue apartment.

Goodwin made the same journey in 30 minutes, she said, but only because she avoided Kings Highway by navigating alleyways and parking lots.

“I’ve never seen it like this — ever,” Goodwin said. “And it’s going to be like this until Monday!”

The heavy traffic congestion on the northbound lanes of South Kings Highway was compounded by the one-way only traffic on Ocean Boulevard and the closure of most side streets leading to it along with a barricaded Yaupon Avenue.

Bikers and motorists in attempts to escape the slow-to-no-go traffic on Kings Highway ventured down the side streets anyway, only to be turned around.

“All these cars and motorcycles will come zipping down here, thinking they’re going to get on Ocean Boulevard, they get to that little hill right there and they all turn around,” Goodwin said.

The southbound-only traffic on the boulevard and the metal barricades, blocking street accesses, were up Friday and will remain up through Monday, adding to congestion through the weekend.

“People that have brought their families down here for vacation, Memorial holiday, they’ll never come back,” Goodwin said.

Tru Legendz, a club of bikers out of Fayetteville, N.C., rolled into a parking garage of a south-end hotel around 7 p.m., gearing up for a night of vacation fun. But the roadway congestion and the nightly 23-mile traffic loop puts a damper on the good times, they said.

“The loop is kind of killing the fun for us,” said Kenneth Maxson, who’s been making the annual trek to Myrtle Beach with the 4-year-old club for two years now. “I understand they’re trying to control the traffic and make sure the locals are not stuck out in traffic and everything, but for us, if we get caught in the loop and we’re trying to get back here, it takes anywhere from three to four hours just to get back here because there’s so much traffic and so much congestion.”

And stalled traffic is bad news for a motorcycle’s engine.

“It’s not good for the bikes because the engines start running hot. If you let it run too hot, it will blow your engine,” Maxson said. “So what we usually do, once we hear our fans kick on, we’ll just cut the whole bike off and then we have to walk it down whatever road we’re on … until it cools down or until it opens up fast enough for us to get air to the engine.”

Maxson says his club does a lot of community service projects and that Tru Legendz comes to Myrtle Beach to have a good time and mingle with other bikers. They don’t come to cause drama, he said.

“I know some people come out here and cause trouble, but I think the people that’s coming out here to have a good time, we shouldn’t be punished for the troublemakers,” Maxson said. “It feels like that’s what they’re doing. They’re punishing everybody for the actions of a few.”

Traffic-inspired headaches exist for visitors and residents alike. But some passengers made the most of it, jamming on tunes in the traffic jam, hours before the loop would bring more delays.