New sidewalk project on 501 aims to make area safer, more friendly to pedestrians, bikers

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Crews are starting work on a much-needed sidewalk along 501 from Seabord Street to Alder Street.

The Myrtle Beach Bike and Pedestrian committee recommended sidewalk construction along 501 to city council a year ago.

The project costs around $290,000 and the city plans to pay for part of it  while the state plans to front a little more than half.

City Planner Kelly Mezzapelle says the city’s bike and pedestrian committee looked at several areas throughout the city before deciding where to spend the money and found the stretch along 501 had the most need.

“Several of the committee members noticed is that there’s a path worn in the grass along 501, so there are a lot of people who are walking along 501 enough to wear a path in the grass and we thought, maybe we ought to put all the money in that one pot,” Mezzapelle said.

Mezzapelle also says the current project is just one part of the city’s broader sidewalk improvement program that aims to make the stretch of 501 between Seaboard and Alder street safer.

“From there we would like to connect to some of the neighborhoods on either side of 501 and look around the city and find other places where there are gaps in the sidewalk infrastructure,” Mezzapelle said. “There are people walking in grass, that isn’t always the safest, somebody can twist an ankle. With the path worn, in the rain it’ll get muddy and people will try to walk on what little bit of a shoulder we have there.”

Businesses along the highway are also encouraged that the sidewalk improvement may increase foot traffic into their storefronts. Additionally, the new sidewalk will not only benefit shoppers, but also help many the employees from neighboring businesses who walk to the bus stop.