Sullivan's Island leaders explore new plan to limit beach parking

Sullivan's Island leaders explore new plan to limit beach parking

SULLIVAN'S ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - The Sullivan's Island Public Safety Committee is taking first steps to devise a 2016 beach parking plan.

"We've decided to explore a relatively simple approach," Sullivan's Island Mayor Pat O'Neill said. "The possibility of restricting parking to just one side of the street across the island."

The Isle of Palms already presented their 2016 beach parking plan.

It limits free public parking spaces and zones some areas of I.O.P. resident-only parking.

"Our neighbors have forced our hand on this because as a concern as parking is restricted on Isle of Palms more people will be looking for parking here," Mayor O'Neill said.

Town leaders said about 1,500 extra cars come to Sullivan's on a peak summer day, adding about 5,000 people.

There are approximately 1,600 residents living on the island already. Some locals said the town should explore paid parking options, similar to the public paid lots at Isle of Palms, to help fund the extra costs that come with extra people.

"Thousands of people come to this island every weekend in the summer," Walsh said. "We have to provide public services. We have to clean up their trash. We have to provide fire and rescue services, and yet we're doing nothing to provide income on the other side of that ledger."
"Our beaches are public," Walsh said.  "I would have it no other way…but there has to be some sort of understanding of the impact that has on a small barrier island like Sullivan's Island."

Walsh said the town could also be better about enforcement of current parking regulations.

Some who work on Sullivan's Island or visit just for its restaurants and stores said parking is already hard and cutting spaces will make it worse.

Town leaders said one-sided parking is a tentative plan that's simple to implement and easy to adjust as needed.

Mayor O'Neill said town officials will be taking public input on the plan. Town council will also need to approve before any changes go into effect.

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