Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Hundreds of people attended a fundraiser and awareness rally for “Don’t Strip the Neck” that was held last Thursday evening at the Caledonia Fish Shed in Pawleys Island.
The Citizens Coalition for Ocean Highway, which hosted the event, is an ad hoc organization that started in February to advocate for a redesign of the proposed U.S. Highway 17 median project in Pawleys Island.
The implications of a $2.5 million plan for reworking the traffic flow on the mainland of Pawleys Island are far-reaching.
The project had its origins in a study commissioned by Georgetown County in 2003, called “The U.S. Highway 17 Corridor Study.” The study recommended numerous improvements including pedestrian infrastructure, bike paths, and improvement of roads parallel to Highway 17.
The coalition opposes the proposed median design.
Steve Goggans, a local architect and co-founder of the coalition, presented a slide show with information of the proposed project and including what he says are disadvantages.
1.) The proposed design has 17 U-turns and compromises safety.
2.) Aesthetics and lack of landscaping.
3.) The proposed design cuts off or obstructs the major side streets.
4.) The proposed design compromises the intent of the future land use plan for Pawleys Island.
5.) The design is not pedestrian friendly.
The coalition believes emergency vehicles and large delivery trucks will not be able to make most U-turns, and many tractor-trailers will be forced to go through residential areas in and around Petigru Drive and Martin Luther King Road.
“Council needs to see if this is going to really benefit our neighborhoods”, added Bob Dimesky a member of the coalition.
According to officials at the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, landscaping in the SCDOT plan, which includes dwarf youpon holly, dwarf palm, crape myrtle, pink muhly grass, groundcover and juniper, will cover 3,800 feet of the 9,300 feet of median.
The two lanes on either side of the highway are 24 feet across. The SCDOT plan includes the installation of several “bulbs” or “loons,” which are paved areas that vehicles can use while making a U-turn.
†These areas, however, do not include acceleration lanes for vehicles after they’ve made the U-turn.
The turning radius for a car is 30 feet, so the “bulbs” can probably accommodate that. The turning radius for tractor-trailers and fire trucks is 40 feet.
The project is scheduled to begin in September.
“We still have time to stop these projects,” get in touch with [County] Council members,” Goggans said.
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