Up to 40 parking spaces that have been open to drivers in downtown Myrtle Beach could soon have time restrictions as city officials consider ways to have more spots available for customers at businesses on the west side of Kings Highway.
Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday passed first reading of an ordinance that allows staff to enforce time-restricted parking in the city. Council members discussed limiting street parking to three hours during the business day.
City Manager John Pedersen said business owners on Ninth Avenue North and in the strip of shops along Broadway Street at Mr. Joe White Avenue have complained about beachgoers and employees parking for extended periods of time. Those owners say having the parking spaces occupied all day is cutting into their business.
“It’s all about trying to get turnover to allow more customers into the businesses,” Pedersen said.
Parking would be limited to three hours in these areas: turnaround area in front of Mr. Sub sandwich shop on Broadway Street between 10th Avenue North extension and Mr. Joe White Avenue and the one block of Ninth Avenue North between Kings Highway and Broadway Street. Parking there now is free and not time restricted.
“Three hours is wonderful,” said Ken Conley, owner of Mr. Sub. “We’ll work on something else going forward.”
Drivers would be limited to three-hours of free parking from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and between noon and 6 p.m. on Sundays. Lanier Parking Solutions, which manages the city’s parking meters, would monitor the areas for drivers violating the time limit and issue tickets.
Pedersen said staff will present the suggested areas to council in a resolution at the next meeting to coincide with second reading and final consideration of the ordinance. Resolutions only require one reading before becoming law. If the new rules are approved, the city would put signs up notifying drivers of the time limit.
City-issued parking decals, which allow residents who pay taxes on cars registered within city limits to park for free at meters and the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, would not apply to time-restricted parking spots.
“We’ll determine the best way for notifications of residents before the signs go up,” Pedersen said.
Conley also urged city staff to consider placing signs at the vacant parking lot behind his shop and next to Myrtle’s Market – which is free for anyone.
“It only saves a few steps [to park in front of Mr. Sub],” he said. “If people see a sign that says it’s free, they’ll probably be more likely to park there.”
City Council also could consider instating three-hour parking on the east side of Kings Highway between Mr. Joe White Avenue and 13th Avenue North, but city staff is not recommending it at this time.
Pedersen said the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corp. is negotiating leasing a vacant lot on 13th Avenue North and offering parking to employees at shops in the downtown area at a reduced rate. Council may revisit enacting the time-restricted parking once the parking lot has been secured.
City Council could vote on the ordinance and resolution as soon as its Aug. 11 meeting.