062217 Pawleys Island: Town wants causeways pulled from county bike path plan
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New signs mark where the town is restriping crosswalks at routes to the beach.

Pawleys Island: Town wants causeways pulled from county bike path plan

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

The town of Pawleys Island will ask Georgetown County to drop plans for bike lanes on the North Causeway and South Causeway. “I’m personally concerned for the town,” Mayor Bill Otis said.

The causeways to the island were included as late additions to a bikeway and pedestrian path master plan adopted by the county last month. The causeway to Litchfield Beach was also included after a County Council committee decided the routes needed to incorporate tourist destinations.

Otis said the North and South Causeway routes will bring more traffic to the section of Myrtle Avenue that links the causeways. It is the only road between each end of the island and already has to accommodate walkers, joggers, cyclists and golf carts along with vehicles, he said. “I think it’s a danger.”

All three routes to the beach are in the top tier of the master plan rankings, but county officials have said the projects will be built as funds become available. The next phase of the county’s capital improvement plan has $1 million designated for bikeways. That money will be used to leverage grants.

The routes are seen as a way to improve safety along roads already used by cyclists and pedestrians. The master plan cites benefits to residents getting to the beach and visitors getting to businesses along Highway 17.

County Council Member Steve Goggans, who initiated the master plan, said he wasn’t contacted by the town. “I understand Pawleys doesn’t want anything that will put more people on the beaches over there,” he said. “I can understand their concern.”

It would take a vote of the council to change the master plan, Goggans said. He wouldn’t support that.

“Biker, walkers, joggers are already competing with vehicles. That’s not a good mix,” he said. “Over time, it’s going to be an increasingly unsafe situation.”

The island is going to draw people even without the routes, Goggans said. But he also believes they will benefit visitors who want to walk or bike off the island. “It clearly works both ways,” he said. “But you would probably need a study to confirm that.”

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