Courtesy of Discover South Carolina
Working On Walking
City planners partner with REALTORS® to focus on walkability
Photo by McCaffery Interests, Inc.
Market Commons in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
By Bobby L. Hickman
Visitors to the popular seaside resort of Myrtle Beach, S. C., can enjoy a beau- tiful afternoon strolling along the white beaches of the Grand Strand and nearby shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
“When you come to Myrtle Beach, you probably drive
eight to 10 hours to get here, so you don’t want to stay in
your car once you arrive,” said Nate Johnson, government
affairs director for the Coastal Carolinas REALTORS®
Association. “We have a beautiful boardwalk at the beach.
The Ocean Boulevard area has been redone. Utility lines
are underground; there are bike lanes and sidewalks.
However, for those who venture into the heart of the
city, it’s a different story. A major thoroughfare, U.S. 17
(Kings Highway), bisects the old downtown area. Some
streets lack sidewalks. In others, businesses stretch to the
roadside, so pedestrians must walk into the street to pass.
“Some sections of that road are scary,” Johnson added.
The wide lanes were designed to move cars — not people
— so tourists and residents find some intersections dangerous, uncomfortable and unwelcoming.
That’s why city leaders and Coastal Carolinas REALTORS® are working together to make the entire city a
safer and more pleasant setting for walkers and cyclists.
The local association obtained an NAR Smart Growth
Grant that brought a nationally known walkability expert
to town during the summer of 2016. City planners, private citizens, business leaders and local advocates came
together for a “walkshop” — a walkability workshop followed by a walking audit of the most challenging section
of downtown. The result was a list of recommendations
for making the city more walkable that will be implemented over the next few years.
“Great strides have been made on Ocean Boulevard,
but when you get over to Kings Highway, it’s a stopping
point,” said Carol Coleman, director of planning for the
city of Myrtle Beach. Improving the corridor will help
visitors and locals alike. “Tourists are our bread and butter,
City leaders and Coastal Carolinas REALTORS® are working together
to make the entire city a safer and more pleasant setting for walkers.