Truth be told, I don’t think a whole lot of the Myrtle Beach homeless population pays attention to what goes on at city hall. This is probably because they feel the city doesn’t care about them, or because they may feel that city officials don’t talk about or act on homelessness enough. Or, maybe, it’s just because these citizens in poverty have enough on their minds, such as how they’ll be getting from place to place every day. Many of the folks in Horry County who have no or less than adequate housing find themselves getting to where they need to go daily by putting feet to pavement as pedestrians, or by peddling a bicycle. The question is, what section of the city’s representatives is mostly responsible for making sure that walking and biking around town is safe?
The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, a group that I believe the homeless in Horry County should pay attention to when it comes to biking and street walking rules and advice, recently had one person resign, according to the online information about the Myrtle Beach City Council Meeting that was held on Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018. City resident Bill Pritchard, who, according to the City of Myrtle Beach website, had a term that wasn’t set to expire until late August of 2020, has stepped down from the committee. Two city residents, Julia Brinkley and Matthew Hardee, have put in their resume for the committee spot, along with one non-resident, Pamela Stone.
Many of the low-income and homeless in Myrtle Beach don’t drive. And, either bicycling or walking are two primary means of getting from point A to point B. This is true whether they are going to school, work, home, or almost anywhere else in the local area. The Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee in Myrtle Beach had a meeting at City Hall in early October (10/2/2018) where they focused on old business that included what’s called the Bicycle and Pedestrian Implementation Plan. A quick Google Search will bring up several PDF’s, but, since this blog is on Horry County homelessness, I think a few points within the March 2013 adopted Horry County Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan from the Horry County Planning and Zoning Department are most fitting for this article post.
In the section entitled Creating Economic Benefits, it was found by experts that “the cost of operating a bicycle for a year is approximately $120, compared to $7,800 for operating a car over the same period of time”. That’s enough savings to make almost anyone consider parking their car if they live close to places they normally visit that are fairly nearby. In the case of someone who may be low-income and/or homeless, utilizing a bicycle is a wonderful way to save up funds needed to attain more of the primary needs of food, clothing, and consistent shelter.
In the section of the plan on Transportation Benefits, they point out how many people simply don’t have a driver’s license, and how the city consistently improving bike trails is a great way to increase mobility as well as relieve much of the traffic congestion on the roads during the worst parts of the day. Much of the lower class in Myrtle Beach have lost their licenses, for whatever reason. And, they may have to pay back large fines in order to get their driving privileges back. While taking the sometimes very extended time required to pay those monies, utilizing a combination of bicycling and walking will be to these folks’ benefit.
Using the local bus system is also very cost efficient, but my advice is to avoid using cabs or various kinds of car driver services, unless of course you’re in a particular situation where you have no choice. In my opinion, being poor or homeless in Myrtle Beach is definitely one of those situations where finding the cheapest way to get around is mandatory, and this part of the population is depending on local committees like the Bicycling and Pedestrian Committee to continue to work diligently to make Horry County a safe place to commute without a vehicle.