MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — A Myrtle Beach business leader said he sees a drop in business when the controversial traffic loop is used on Memorial Day weekend.
Robert Alston, director of Peaches Corner, has worked on Ocean Boulevard for 25 years. He said there is a decrease in business in years when the traffic loop is in place.
“With the loop, it’s really crowded because everyone’s going one way,” Alston said.
The 23-mile one-way loop was put in place in 2015 but hadn’t been used in recent years.
Critics said the traffic loop was only implemented for Black Bike Week, but not for Harley Week later in the year. A 2020 jury found the loop was racially motivated, but said the city would have taken the same action had race not been considered. The city settled with the NAACP for $50,000 as a traffic plan settlement.
Alston said while traffic on Ocean Boulevard will still be one-way for emergency vehicles, there will be more foot traffic and more people going back and forth on Ocean Boulevard, which is better for business. .
Alston said with the traffic loop, people wouldn’t stop as much.
“A lot of people would just say it’s too crowded to get out and walk and some people just didn’t want to do anything but just drive around and say they’ve been stuck in traffic for too long,” he said. he declares.
The entire loop that routed traffic to Highway 31 will not be used, according to the master corporal. Tom Vest with the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
Vest said the extended loop was not needed this year.
“The purpose of the extended traffic plan was to eliminate very heavy traffic jams and when we didn’t have heavy traffic jams we chose not to use it,” Vest said. “We said this from the start and we pursued it, but we didn’t see this level of congestion that required the use of the extended plan.”
The police department is working to release informational videos about specific intersections that will be open and the easiest ways to get around.
Vest said the current plan is to be safe.
“The whole plan is about security,” he said. “The traffic pattern was part of the security plan. It’s balanced to make sure everyone has a good time, but stays safe and we need to be able to get emergency vehicles to service calls – firefighters and EMS – and that’s what what is the contingency plan for?
Vest said he also works with Google and other systems to make sure GPS information is up-to-date so visitors and locals can get around easily.