(Location: Myrtle Beach Access 47th Ave. North. Photo Courtesy: Sharon Tutrone)
It’s David versus Goliath when it comes to free parking in Myrtle Beach.
Malzone formed the advocacy group, Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe, after Myrtle Beach city officials implemented parking regulations along the Golden Mile, which stretches from 31st Avenue North to 82nd Avenue North.
Parking fees are in place from 31st Avenue North to 53rd Avenue North. Residents who live outside the city limits and tourists “pay $2 an hour or $10 a day” to park on this stretch of road.
Mark Kruea, a public information officer for the City of Myrtle Beach, said “As non-residents, they live in the unincorporated part of Horry County and do not pay city property. Living in an incorporated municipality comes with both taxes and benefits.”
The city instituted paid parking in that area because residents there complained of visitors parking in their yards and disrupting the neighborhood.
The fees went into effect last July. Drivers can face fines and could have their car towed if they violate the new rules. To make the parking process easy, drivers can pay the parking cost on their cell phones through the Parkmobile system.
County residents protested the move, saying they should not have to pay to park along the Golden Mile.
“We want fair access to the beach and we want the city to back down from making the Golden Mile a private beach,” Malzone said.
Kruea responded by saying “Parking is a commodity, and payment for parking is essentially a user fee. You’re using the space, so you pay to park there. Non-residents still can go to the beach in the Golden Mile, if they so choose. All they have to do is pay to park there.”
Malzone is hoping the city will compromise by offering a $100 non-resident parking pass which will be valid for all residents outside the city limits “and part-time residents.” Malzone said that pass should also be valid for all city metered parking spaces.
“We spend money all year long; this city can’t survive without us in November, December, January, and February,” Malzone said. “We believe that we should have a non-resident decal, which will allow us to park at those beach access lots and will give us access to 400 spots that we don’t have now.”
“The city has put a wall up and started an “us versus them.” If you look at the sheer numbers, there are 28,000 people in the city… 210,000 other ones in the county. So, 28,000 people have gone to war with 210,000 over 400 parking spots,” Malzone said.
The parking ordinance remains in effect until October 31st.
For a map of where the parking fees are in effect, click here
Infographic created by: Sharon Tutrone
Software used: Animaps http://www.animaps.com/edit.html