Angled parking plan on Isle of Palms moving forward

Source: Live 5
Updated: Apr. 16, 2021 at 4:20 PM EDT
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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - Leaders on the Isle of Palms are moving forward with a parking plan that would add dozens of new spaces along Palm Boulevard.

Instead of the current parallel parking along Palm Boulevard, the new parking spaces will be set at a 60-degree angle on the non-ocean side of the road.

On Friday afternoon, city leaders passed the plan. Town officials say the new changes would add around 80 more spaces for people along the island’s main stretch.

Lisa Allison, who lives on neighboring Goat Island, says demand for parking along the beach will always outweigh the available space.

“I don’t think it will ever be enough,” Allison said. “Because so many people want to come to the beach. We are lucky to have it and everyone should be using it.”

Beach access advocate Michael Barnett said after seeing SCDOT demonstrations of the new layout, he feels it’s safe and a welcome addition for the island.

“It’s sort of a small victory, and I think it’s the first step in a larger plan SCDOT has for the Isle of Palms,” Barnett said. “I think it’s great. I think it’s safe.”

But others are concerned about the safety of the changes.

Longtime IOP resident Ted McKnight said the space between the spots and Palm Boulevard is not wide enough to safely allow cars to pull out without going onto the busy road.

“I am for the maximum number of safe parking spaces,” McKnight said. “Safe parking starts with exiting the parking space and you have to be able to do it without backing up onto Palm Boulevard.”

The Barrier Island Preservation Group, made up of local IOP residents, also sent a letter to Isle of Palms City Council Friday morning calling for stronger designations of each space, a test-run during busy summer months and more room between cars and the road for anyone backing out.

“While 30 degree or 45 degree angled parking could provide a safer solution, as recommended by SCDOT’s published guidelines, ensure all 60 degree spaces have adequate maneuvering space to exit safely, without oncoming traffic interruption, via encroachment on Palm Boulevard,” the Barrier Island Preservation Group letter recommends.

This week, crews with the South Carolina Department of Transportation began surveying the land and marking spaces.

But installation of buffers won’t begin until Monday, according to SCDOT spokesperson Pete Poore said.

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