Myrtle Beach Mayor suggests closing Ocean Boulevard at night to bring more foot traffic

MYRTLE BEACH (WBTW)-      Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes wants to try something new downtown.

At a recent meeting with the Oceanfront Merchants Association, the Mayor suggested closing a stretch of Ocean Boulevard to vehicle traffic one night a week. He says this would open the road to more foot traffic.

Mayor Rhodes actually pitched the idea two years ago, but downtown businesses didn’t go for it.
He hopes this time they’ll be more open minded.

“Lets see if they’re willing to take a gamble,” he said.

Rhodes says closing Ocean Boulevard down to cars, might actually open the road to shoppers.

“If you don’t take a chance on something, you’re never going to know if something works or not,” he explained.

Rhodes proposed the city close Ocean Boulevard from 7th-10th Avenue North. The closure would last from 4 p.m.-1 a.m.

“If you’re walking, you’re spending,” he stated. ” If you’re riding, you’re not.”

Peaches Corner Manager Ryan Cooper likes the idea of people taking in the sights on foot.

“It gives people an opportunity to maybe peek their head in and see what we’ve got going on here, maybe come in and eat with us,” said Cooper.

However, he says young people like to ‘cruise the boulevard.’

“It’s been tradition down here in Myrtle Beach for a long time. I did it when I was a kid,” said Cooper

Rhodes says times have changed. He used Charleston as an example. The Holy City closes King Street down every second Sunday.

“It gives you more of the family atmosphere that we’re looking for in Myrtle Beach,” said Rhodes.

A spokesperson with the Oceanfront Merchants Association told News 13 it may be worth trying for one night.

The proposal would need to go through city council and the planning commission before it is approved.

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