Fewer lanes and slower speeds being proposed for Kings Highway


    Kings Highway Myrtle Beach/WPDE

    From six lanes to four lanes, that's what the Myrtle Beach Planning Commission is proposing with a new resolution in order to make Kings Highway (US 17 Business) safer.

    On one side, you have those who say the changes will make it easier for pedestrians, but on the other side, some pedestrians say it's not the amount of traffic or the speeding they're worried about.

    "There are places here where people can get across, but still it's not a comfortable crossing," said Planning Director Carol Coleman.

    Coleman stated Wednesday that Kings Highway is one of the busiest highways in Horry County and it runs right through the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach.

    The city's planning department has spent the last 20 years trying to figure out ways to accommodate the city's growth while keeping Kings Highway safe.

    "We found out ourselves when we went out and did a walkability audit a few years ago that in some areas, the lanes are as wide if not wider than what you see on interstates," said Coleman.

    The commission has proposed reducing the speed limits from 12th Avenue South to 82nd Avenue North and they also want to change portions of the highway from six lanes to four lanes.

    "When you get up way on the north end where they have three lanes in either directions plus turn lanes and medians, I mean, that's a lot of right-of-way," said Coleman.

    However, not everyone traveling by foot thinks this is the best move for the city.

    "I've seen people outright running reds, so I think that's something that will get pushed farther as they get frustrated trying to come through," said Thomas Nader, who has to cross Kings Highway several times a day.

    For pedestrians who have to cross US-17 business daily, they say if city leaders really want to make it more pedestrian friendly, they should tackle what they refer to as the bigger issue at hand.

    "It's the texting and driving. They keep their eyes open for that, they're going to do more improvement than lowering the speed limit and condensing the lanes," said Nader.

    In order for this proposal to become a reality, the planning commission needs approval not just from city council, but also from the federal government and the state DOT.

    The resolution is a part of the downtown redevelopment master plan and the planning commission will present the resolution to city council at Tuesday's city council meeting.

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