Tuesday's city of Myrtle Beach/Golden Mile meeting was an excellent example of how our local government is responsive to the citizenry. City staff left the meeting the prior week blistered by the expressions of displeasure with a plan for modifying parking in our near-beach residential neighborhoods.
They returned to face much the same crowd with a modified delivery and much better plan. There is still a lot of work to be done, and depending on the wishes of the City Council, maybe nothing will change for the coming season. But senior staff, with the leadership of City Manager John Pedersen, has recognized that balancing the wishes of and responsibilities to all the citizens of Myrtle Beach can result in better solutions by listening first.
The plan which seemed to crystallize by the end of the evening was much improved from the original scheme. Though there were very few citizens present who live west of Kings Highway, the staff represented our access interests well, and I thank them. At the same time there were many good suggestions for improvement, everything from wording on signs to possible different treatments of different areas experiencing specific problems.
As the plan goes forward to City Council for their deliberation, I offer two observations: This plan can be implemented for a surprisingly low budget and in about a month, making it both expendable if it doesn't work and available in part or whole for this season. Something needs to be done now to address the safety of our beachgoers and Ocean Boulevard and Avenues residents.
Second, I would encourage City Council to recommit resources to facilitating other modes of access to the beach by our citizens by providing more sidewalks and bike facilities for that purpose. It disappoints me when I walk down 38th Avenue North to the signalized crosswalk at Kings only to be faced with walking in the road the rest of the way to the beach.
For a parent with children, this is an unacceptable situation which results in them electing to drive and park. If people have safe convenient paths to the beach and we limit nonresidents from crowding into our residential neighborhoods, we can gain some healthy exercise, enjoy the relatively uncrowded non-commercial beach and respect the desire for a reasonable level of privacy in our neighborhoods.
Our city staff has done their part. We await the directions of our elected officials.
Bill Pritchard, Myrtle Beach