Mayor's Message - March 24, 2023

Beach Traffic Management

I wanted to provide you with a quick update on our planning efforts for traffic during our busy season.  Building on the success from last year’s efforts, we held a planning meeting to strategize on ideas to improve traffic flow and signage during the upcoming season.  This past Friday we met with our critical partners for this effort – mayors, staff and public safety personnel from IOP, Sullivans Island, Folly Beach and Mt. Pleasant. Also in attendance were the SC Department of Transportation, Charleston County Park Director and ABC News 4 General Manager and Trooper Bob.  This was the 3rd meeting we’ve had with this group, where we spend valuable time either planning for a season or debriefing after the season to review what worked and what needs improvement. Here is a quick recap:

  • ABC News 4 & Trooper Bob Partnership
    • ABC News 4 will begin running the Know Before You Go campaign in April (one month earlier than last year). ABC News 4, Trooper Bob and Charleston area beaches have partnered for a second year to create a Beach Information Station at and in the ABC News 4 App with real time traffic information, parking availability, beach rules and ocean conditions. The goal of this campaign is to make trips to the beach a bit smoother and more enjoyable.
    • As part of the Know Before You Go campaign, ABC News 4 will conduct new interviews with beach Mayors and their Public Safety Chiefs ahead of holiday weekends.
    • Explore Charleston has committed to continuing to sponsor this campaign on their homepage and in the Charleston airport.
    • Indicated willingness to take over the maintenance and operation of all beach traffic cameras which will result in some cost savings to the city and add more cameras in strategic locations. 
    • and the Town of Mount Pleasant will keep summer weekend signal timing prioritizing traffic coming off the Connector during peak times to keep traffic flowing and reduce backups.
    • Approved installing a 4 way stop at 25th Avenue and Waterway Boulevard. The City will submit an official letter requesting implementation.
    • SCDOT staff will meet with City staff to review the final report on IOP Connector lane configuration alternatives. Approximately 3,300 citizens responded to the survey, of which roughly 50% of those that included zip code, were from IOP
  • IOP County Park
    • Added a third entrance at 14th Avenue that is expected to increase queueing capacity by 50%.
    • Increasing staffing to direct traffic and shorten the time dedicated to gate transactions.
    • Plans to increase social media messaging to their members with updates about lot capacity at IOP and Folly Beach.
    • Plans to deploy signs in Mount Pleasant to alert visitors when their parking lot is full.
    • Committed again to share the cost 50/50 for a dedicated deputy sheriff's officer at Palm Boulevard and 14th Avenue intersection to assist in traffic management and enforcement.

The City of Isle of Palms and the Town of Mount Pleasant will continue to support the CARTA Beach Reach Shuttle, a free hourly shuttle service from Town Center to Front Beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The City is committed to continuing to strengthen these partnerships to mitigate the impact beach traffic has on our community. It is encouraging to see how all of these stakeholders continue to come together to improve the beach experience for visitors and residents alike.