HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - Hilton Head is known for being both pedestrian and bike-friendly, but there's one pathway on the Island near Coligny Park that has many people concerned about safety.
The walkway is extremely close to the road, with nothing in-between, which concerns many drivers and walkers in the area. The cars are driving right beside them without any buffer.
The issue was discussed at a public facilities meeting on Monday, where they decided to make this project a top priority for the town.
The committee is hoping to work with the developers who are currently renovating the nearby Heritage Plaza to fix the problem. A land swap plan was discussed to basically have a private-public partnership with the owners of Heritage Plaza.
They want to move some of their property to create a wider, safer pedestrian pathway with landscaping separating it from the road. In exchange, the town will give up some of their vacant land nearby for the plaza to use for parking.
The committee is calling this a win-win for everyone and a chance to fix a known traffic problem on the Island.
The goal is to push back the pathway. They intend to widen it for walkers and bikers and add a barrier of landscaping between the path and the roads.
Many people who frequently use the path say this has been a big issue in the area and they'd like to see it fixed.
"Everyone is converging on bikes and walking and there's just a lot of volume of cars too. And when you have a lot of people who don't know necessarily where they're going with tourists...it's just, it's a big mix of users. And so the more we can separate them, the better they will feel," said Jennifer Ray, urban designer.
"I think it's a really good idea," said Heather Ferrell, HHI resident. "That way it will keep the bicyclists that are riding on the bike path and the ones that are walking out of the reach of the cars. You've got a lot of the tourists around here and sometimes they're not paying attention. So I think having that blockage there would be a good idea for it to be safe for us that are walking."
WTOC was at the meeting Monday, and everyone there was in support of fixing this walkway.
The next step is to take the plan to the full Town Council for approval. That meeting will be held on September 20th.