Isle of Palms sees heavy traffic after beach reopens

Isle of Palms sees heavy traffic after beach reopens
Isle of Palms Connector sees heavy traffic after beach reopens (Source: Isle of Palms Police Department)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - City leaders for the Isle of Palms say Saturday’s large crowds and traffic backups caught them off guard.

The city’s police department says they will have some extra hands on deck Sunday. Charleston County deputies will be helping with traffic enforcement while Isle of Palms police focus on parking issues.

“Today was by far the busiest day since I’ve been on the Isle of Palms," Isle of Palms Police Chief Kevin Cornett said. "Most of my staff has been here a lot longer and they say this has been the busiest day they have seen in their career.”

Many city officials say Saturday was the busiest they have ever seen the beach in terms of traffic backups, and they are expecting more of the same for Sunday.

Cornett says that the Isle of Palms could see even more people next week.

“Next weekend could be even busier for the three islands. It’s really important that people plan and, if you can do something other than come to the beach, we don’t need everybody coming to the beach on memorial day weekend.”

Officials say most of the people on the beach were practicing social distancing, but the same could not be said for their vehicles. Some areas reportedly had cars double or even triple parked.

Now city council is considering increasing the $50 dollar fine for parking violations to deter the issues and the traffic. But a proposed ordinance will have to pass two readings and go through a public hearing before it would go into effect.

Cornett says his officers wrote 216 parking tickets Saturday, but since the checkpoint was lifted, they’ve issued over a thousand.

Officials are now asking people to check the road conditions online before coming out with the SCDOT511 app.

The police chief says they are tripling their usual number of patrol officers for tomorrow.

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