COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - A South Carolina Senate Transportation panel voted unanimously to advance a measure designed to ensure Lowcountry beachgoers have access to public parking.
Senate officials say the measure comes after several beach towns severely limited public parking in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The law provides that municipalities may not establish or alter parking facilities on state highways without prior approval of The South Carolina Department of Transportation. Significantly, Senate officials say it also stipulates that parking along state highways located on barrier islands is free and may only be restricted by SCDOT.
“We have an immediate problem along with coast with access to parking,” Grooms said. “The beaches belong to everybody, and if you cut off parking, you’re cutting off access to the beach. … We can’t do that, we’re better than that.”
Tuesday’s Senate Transportation Subcommittee Hearing included testimony from SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall and from Myra Jones of the Lowcountry Beach Foundation.
The bill now advances to the full Senate Transportation Committee, which may consider the bill as early as next week.