so they knew his work well. They also had some of his
posters on the wall at their office, “which we had him
autograph,” she laughed.
Johnson added, “I didn’t realize he was the pope of walkability. So when NAR and I offered to bring Burden — an
industry guru — to the community, the city planners
were quickly on board.”
He first enlisted community support by meeting with the
mayor and city managers. Those officials then encouraged
others to take part: the police department, private citizens,
the Chamber of Commerce, key Department of Transportation personnel and many others. Some 25 participants
attended the “walkshop” sessions, conducted on June 30th
by Burden and Samantha Thomas of Blue Zones.
In addition to the work sessions, Burden led a walking
audit of a 10-block stretch of Kings Highway, taking measurements and making suggestions for improvements.
Coleman said she and her staff already had some ideas
for upgrades, but they kept quiet to see what Burden recommended first. “He latched on to some of the things
we have been saying,” she added. “It was gratifying when
someone who is a leader in the profession comes in from
the outside and sees some of the same things we noticed.”
For example, Johnson said, Burden found the lanes on
Kings Highway were 14 feet wide, but the traffic really
only required 10-foot lanes. Simply repainting the lanes
to be 10 feet wide on a four-lane stretch makes an extra
eight feet available on each side of the road for bike lanes.
“As we walked, I saw city engineers writing notes on their
hands and taking pictures of areas for possible changes,”
he said. “Plus, things like repainting the street won’t break
the bank: it’s part of the existing maintenance budget.”
In another exercise, the group made a human circle at an
intersection to simulate a roundabout. “When cars came
by, people slowed down and correctly went around us,” he
said. “They knew what to do. It demonstrated how roundabouts slow down traffic and make drivers more aware of
the intersection.” New roundabouts — with stop signs
and decorative elements — are another approach Myrtle
Beach can implement going forward.
After the “walkshop”, Blue Zone produced a 95-page
report titled “Walkable Myrtle Beach: Envisioning a
More People-Friendly and Prosperous Kings Highway.” The report reviewed current conditions, recapped
pedestrian safety issues, covered general walkability principles, shared photographs of problem intersections
and made recommendations for specific changes in
downtown Myrtle Beach.
The process for implementing those improvements began
in early October with a follow-up community session to
plan next steps. Coleman said her team has detailed goals
Various members of the Myrtle
Beach community attended
the “walkshop” sessions.