Developers say adding ‘friction’ will slow down drivers on U.S. 17

News13 Digital First

PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WBTW) – A multi-day workshop has residents from Horry and Georgetown counties drawing plans with designers and technicians to improve the U.S. Highway 17 corridor.

On night three of the workshop, community members shared a common concern for excessive speeds on Hwy. 17 and strategically planned a vision for the future twenty mile-stretch of the highway to slow drivers down.

A community wish list was created where residents shared a common interest for more walkable and village-like areas. Other visions included alternate transportation modes, more greener areas, and food options.

“Residents and people experiencing life here, they see a different part of it,” Principal Planner Craig Lewis said.

Ranking at the top of concerns were driver’s speeds along Hwy. 17, a main street to some, an evacuation route to most.

From the location beginning on Hwy. 17 near the Horry County line down to the entrance of DeBordieu Colony, over 700 crashes have taken place in the last three years.

A highway report shows 513 of the people involved in those crashes did not have injury while nearly 200 people did, four crashes resulting in death. Burgess Road ranked among the worst location crashes accounting for 115 crashes. Waverly Road and Wachesaw Road also accounted for nearly 60 crashes.

“One idea is to have curbs and sidewalks create what planners call friction to slow people down and space cars more evenly,” Steve Goggans said.

A common vision for a more walk-able community may be the solution for Hwy. 17 traffic and collision improvements. Residents said they want to see more village like areas replacing strip developments. Designers respond saying adding ‘friction’ areas would reduce driver’s speeds.

“We want to encourage what we call friction. That’s where there are more things to look at and pay attention to naturally slowing you down,” Lewis said.

Multiple processes are taking place in the project. Developers are working on land use and the design element while another group is looking at the functionality standpoint and transportation elements.

The developing firm will meet back with the community at the beginning of 2020 to marry this week’s discussion and plans together and share final recommendations.

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