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Bike the Neck: Lanes planned to connect cyclists with recreation facilities

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Bike lanes will run alongside the road to Stables Park when it is finally paved sometime in 2017. Organizers of the Bike the Neck project are working with residents to extend those lanes through the Parkersville community.

The park, which opened in 2012, is accessible only from the dirt portion of Petigru Drive. The county will pave Petigru from Martin Luther King Road to Aspen Loop, a $900,000 project. Two 4-foot-wide bike lanes will be installed on either side, said Paul Battaglino, Georgetown County’s capital projects coordinator. In addition, the state Department of Transportation will install turning lanes at the intersection of Petigru and Martin Luther King.

Bike the Neck would like to connect the park and the Waccamaw Recreation Center in Parkersville with the bike path along Waverly Road. Linda Ketron, who chairs the group, met with area residents to discuss the options. “Everybody that was involved seemed to think it was a very good idea,” said Norman Reid, a former member of the county parks commission who was a leader in the effort to build the recreation center.

Extending the bike lanes another mile or so down Petigru to Waverly Road is the simplest option. But diverting the lanes down Martin Luther King to Parkersville Road would give access to churches, a child care center and the recreation center. The lanes would reconnect with Petigru at Recreation Drive.

“That would help the kids on Parkersville Road,” Reid said. “There are a lot more kids on Parkersville than on Petigru.” With construction of a median to limit left turns on Highway 17, there is also more traffic on Parkersville Road, he added.

“Nothing is set in stone,” Ketron said. “There are a lot of homes along Parkersville that have developed their property up to the road edge.”

A bike path like the one Bike the Neck has championed for over 20 years is separated from the road. The bike lanes would be an extension of the pavement. It would be hard to get a path through Parkersville because there are many parcels and an easement would have to be negotiated with each owner, Ketron said.

More community meetings will be held and she hopes to be able to poll residents during a cleanup along Waverly Road that is planned for Oct. 31. The state Department of Transportation built a sidewalk along Waverly in the 1980s. It connects with the newest phase of the Bike the Neck route in front of Waccamaw Elementary School. The cleanup will focus on the sidewalk, which is often used by cyclists but overgrown in places.

“We’re not trying to make it a bike path,” Ketron said. “We’re trying to make it the best sidewalk possible.”

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