By Paola Tristan Arruda | September 22, 2020 at 10:27 PM EDT - Updated September 23 at 4:32 AM
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Isle of Palms is permanently eliminating some parking along a portion of one of the city’s main streets.
On Tuesday, city council voted 7-1 to get rid of all landside parking on Palm Boulevard between 22nd and 40th avenues. The decision affects between 100 and 150 parking spots.
The ordinance to permanently eliminate parking on the land side of Palm Boulevard was first approved by the Isle of Palms Public Safety Committee on Sept. 14. Committee members supported the motion, which was initially put into place to limit the number of people on the beach during the pandemic.
Mayor Jimmy Caroll had previously said that the number of beach-goers on the weekends has led to traffic backups on Palm Boulevard, which can delay public safety personnel during emergencies.
“You get these traffic pile ups. And if somebody had an emergency, and EMS or a fire truck with our first responders had to fly down Palm Blvd, because every second counts, they get stuck in the traffic,” Carroll said.
During the meeting, city leaders asked the Police Chief and Fire Chief for their comments about parking.
Police Chief Kevin Cornett said that while it is safer to not have people crossing the road, the department hasn’t had any major issues.
With a 7-1 vote, council members felt this was the right move to make.
“I think this is the right thing to do. We’re still providing ample parking, much more parking than what we actually have to, and I think it’s going to be good for us,” Councilman Rusty Streetman said.
The Charleston Beach Foundation is currently suing the city over its parking restrictions.
In a statement to Live 5 News, Lee Rowland from the Charleston Beach Foundation said:
“While Isle of Palms council continues to make brazen decisions that are outside the realm of the authority they’ve been given, the Charleston Beach Foundation continues to put their focus on state and local elected officials.”
Last Thursday, the organization sent a letter to all elected officials and those running for office to get an official statement on their support for their cause. They say they have heard back from 16 people who support the cause.
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