Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Response to Bob Anderson’s letter
in the Georgetown Times [June 26, 2013]
Note: Bob Anderson represents the Pawleys Island area on Georgetown County Council.
In response to your statement that letters were sent to all landowners concerning the project and design options, I have not found one individual who has received any letter from anyone concerning the median project. I own land on Hwy. 17 myself and never received any type of notice or letter.
You want to know where we were when DOT was looking for public input? I believed, like so many other citizens, that this was a beautification project as indicated in earlier articles in our local newspapers. You may see copies of those articles on our website www.dontstriptheneck.org. Citizens of Pawleys Island embraced the idea of a beautifully landscaped median.
Comments have been made by Council Members suggesting that we “just let the professionals do their jobs and they know what they are doing.” I don’t think it is wise to let any form of government make decisions for our town or any other town by relying solely on others who do not even live here … to blindly follow whatever anyone suggests because “they know what they are doing.”
I have been practicing interior design for 38 years and I welcome comments and suggestions from my clients when I present a plan. Sometimes it is an improvement upon my design and I welcome the opportunity to create a plan that works better for my clients and their family. I do not want to force my plan upon someone when they know better than I how to conduct their own lives and activities.
You state that “empirical data shows that a median is the best solution to our immediate safety problem”; however, the type of median with the 17 U-turns that is planned is not right for our community and the way we live our daily lives.
You say you don’t care where the studies have taken place as all cars look the same to you. Just because this type of U- turn system works in Lenwood, NC and Dorchester Road does not mean it will work in all communities and especially not ours. Myrtle Beach has decided to embrace the green island concept in areas on Hwy. 17 connecting hubs of small shops, building sidewalks and creating bike lanes. They do not want to continue viewing Hwy. 17 as just a road to move vehicles from one end to another.
They want to build a community, not destroy it and now you want Pawleys Island to be just a road to move vehicles.
What you and other council members do not appear to understand is that once these U-turns are built and small businesses begin to suffer loss of income from limited direct access, they will close and the only other businesses that will actually work will be strip development. Say good-bye to the personality of Pawleys Island.
I disagree with the location of the new traffic lights because they do not connect with parallel roads that access emerging commercial hubs. The Post Office could close and Hotel Drive is only one block long. You state there will be no bike lanes or sidewalks as this is a median project only. We want bike lanes and sidewalks and this median project insures that they will never be because of the many U-turns.
You stated that Midway Fire and Rescue signed off on the design and I spoke with a fire department employee recently that stated the plan was going to make their job more difficult.
You state that 40% of the median will contain beds planted in an assortment of drought tolerant plants. That sounds just lovely. Is it cacti or AstroTurf? While you claim that 40% of the median will be landscaping, Jerry Oakley recently stated there would be “no landscaping as there was no money in the budget for it.” Which is it? Is that a new addition? If so, then that just proves the plan can be changed. It is good to know that you now admit you are engaged and as far as we are concerned, that means you have influence. We know that you were very instrumental in adding the tractor trailer turn around on the Enclave property last fall and without a traffic study.
If you are so concerned about the safety of our citizens, than why are you standing firm on the U-turn solution, when they create additional left turns, cross two lanes of oncoming traffic and have no acceleration lanes in order to merge back into traffic? That sounds like a lot of backed up cars to me and a lot of people slamming on their brakes. Intersections merging (Professional Lane) into the U-turn lanes create an even greater danger and I am also having difficulty understanding why you, an engineer by trade, do not understand the issues associated with this plan.
Please listen to us, the citizens of Pawleys Island before it is too late.
Mindy McVay Heilmann
Pawleys Island resident
Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.