Jun 17 2015

Parking And Congestion Prove Hard To Solve

By Kathryn Casey for Island Eye News

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After receiving complaints about the right-of-way parking at the beginning of the Public Safety meeting on June 2 at 9:30 a.m., the Isle of Palms Public Safety Committee made many decisions regarding the coming parking plan. William O’Hanahan said that people who park in the right-of-way park too close to residents’ driveways and it becomes impossible to see traffic when backing out of said driveways. Jim Owens said that property owners should maintain yard growth because it becomes a public safety hazard when plants are growing out over the right-of- ways. In addition to these citizens’ complaints, according to reports, the Isle of Palms

Police force handed out 1,219 parking citations in the May, which is up by 188% since last year; 343 parking citations were handed out during Memorial Day weekend alone.

In order to ease the congestion around Front Beach during the busy summer weekends, the Public Safety Committee is discussing a new aspect of the parking plan that would make portions of 14th Avenue and Ocean Blvd a one-way inbound operation. If the City approves this proposal, Stantec will conduct a trial that will run for a minimum of one entire weekend.

14th Avenue, starting at the top of the Park, would become a oneway inbound street flowing into Ocean Blvd and ending at 10th Avenue.

This idea has been proposed because of previous success the city has seen when it has implemented oneway traffic for busy times of the year including July 4th.

During this trial, Stantec will have an engineer or engineer-in-training present to observe the conditions in the downtown area and the effectiveness of one-way streets in decongesting traffic. Once this plan has been confirmed by the Public Safety Committee, Stantec will prepare a concept plan for the City to review and comment on. The proposed budget for this plan is $13,560. According to Captain Usry, this plan could provide the Island with “more room to spread people out and ease congestion.”

This proposed trial was included in the most recent Change Order from Stantec, but not approved by a vote from the Public Safety Committee. The Committee will discuss this trial again at its next meeting before voting on it.

Other ways the Isle of Palms Public Safety Committee is changing the streets to keep residents safe include adding another crosswalk at the corner of 38th Avenue and Palm Blvd. In addition to the added crosswalk, the Committee has also approved the addition of Golf Cart Only Parking on the road right-of-way on the corner of 28th Ave and Palm Blvd and 31st Ave and Palm Blvd. Another improvement the City hopes to provide is making the Front Beach and outbound traffic cameras public for anyone to view. This would improve the Island traffic by letting people at home view the traffic conditions before deciding whether to head to the beach. The question that the staff is trying to answer is if they can allow the public to access these cameras without compromising the Island’s security.

The Residential Parking District Signing Plan presented by Stantec to the Public Safety Committee has been approved and will continue to Council for final approval. This plan takes the areas added from Concept B to the Concept C plan and creates a signing plan for installation of the signs on the Island. “Stantec will calculate construction quantities and prepare a preliminary opinion of probable construction cost,” is stated within the Plan that Stantec produced. “Stantec will submit preliminary plans to SCDOT under an SCDOT encroachment permit application.” Although the signs will be installed much sooner, the start date for the new residents-only parking areas will start next summer.

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