ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Construction is set to begin Monday transforming parallel parking to angled parking along Palm Boulevard on the Isle of Palms (IOP). This comes after rounds of input from lawmakers and city leaders.
The plan being implemented by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and approved by IOP City Council will add dozens of new parking spaces for beach goers along Palm Boulevard.
This, as Senate Bill 40 is being considered by a State House Sub-Committee in Columbia. Some say the bill isn’t addressing the real problems leading to the parking issues, those behind the bill say it’s a good first step.
The bill, introduced by state Senator Larry Grooms, would amend section 5-29-30 of the 1976 code related to the right of municipalities establishing on-street parking facilities or altering parking facilities on any state highway without the prior approval of the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
“Our beaches are something that we dearly love, it’s a part of who we are, it’s a part of Lowcountry life,” says Grooms. “People who live off the island want to be able to access the beach and park on the island and there are some folks on the island who don’t care for people to come at all. And that needs to be resolved and it needs to be resolved before this beach season gets underway.”
Mount Pleasant Councilman Jake Rambo agrees, saying “if you can’t get to the beach, you can’t park at the beach, you can’t go to the beach.”
But not everyone thinks the bill addresses the real problems at hand. Among them, State Representative Joe Bustos.
“The crowding, the traffic is something that needs to be addressed now and it needs to be a balance,” says State Representative Bustos.
A balance between those driving to the beach and those who call it home. For those looking from the outside in Mount Pleasant, Councilman Rambo says the state should’ve stepped in sooner.
“After the shenanigans those pulled during COVID-19 and throughout the summer and then when they moved to permanently restrict parking,” says Rambo. It told you everything you needed to know.”
Senator Grooms says it’s a way to strike a balance for those looking to hit the beach.
“It ensures the public will have access to parking and the beach but it also has some provisions in it that would allow for the local concerns,” says Senator Grooms.
For many it’s a line in the sand and while uncertainty looms, some change appears inevitable.
“You can’t have it all one way or the other,” says Representative Bustos.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation has been active making preparations for the permanent parking spaces outlining them with flags and spray paint. The construction will begin on Monday.