Mount Pleasant, local beach leaders consider changes to address beach traffic

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Leaders from Lowcountry beach communities are coming together to address the added traffic that comes with summer tourism and beach travel at the coast.

Leaders and beach officials are looking at several ways to address the issues on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, from better management of traffic light patterns in Mount Pleasant to staging sheriff’s deputies along the routes.

“Getting folks off the island and keeping traffic moving is probably the biggest challenge we have and we need out neighbors help to do that obviously,” says Isle of Palm’s Mayor Phillip Pounds.

Lowcountry beach leaders are making a renewed push to control beach traffic ahead of an expected busy season.

“See if there was some incremental changes we could make, whether it’s manning folks at the light, changing light cycles here in Mount Pleasant or putting someone at the light on Isle of Palms (IOP) just to keep things moving.

Mayor Pounds says IOP will have extra officers out in force especially at the base of the connector to keep traffic flowing on and off the connector to the County Park, Front Beach and beyond. A concern for him is moving traffic through Mount Pleasant.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie recognizes the problem and hopes adjusting traffic light cycles will keep cars moving and prevent lengthy backups.

“We’re looking at everything from traffic light signaling to when to have an officer sitting there to override the light,” says Mayor Haynie.

Mount Pleasant is considering additional options including widening Mount Pleasant lanes of the connector and implementing dedicated turning lanes to keep a constant flow on and off the beaches.

“Is there a coordinated sort of express lane or express turns that we could do or something like that,” says Mayor Haynie. “We’re going to get those ideas back, we’re going to have more meetings and have this all figured out.”

The group of mayors are cautiously optimistic a solution can be found before Memorial Day weekend saying they plan to continue to working together over the coming weeks and months.

“If we can just start incrementally moving the needle a little bit around moving it on and off faster, hopefully people will have a better experience this season,” says Mayor Pounds.