May is Bike Month – a time to celebrate bicycling, highlight its benefits, and encourage more folks to try biking. Hilton Head Island is a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community, and we like to bring attention to the month by reminding the public to be safe when riding bikes.
This year, The Town of Hilton Head Island invites the community to celebrate Bike Month at an afternoon cycling fest May 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Lowcountry Celebration Park. This event will feature a community stretch session in the park at 4:45 p.m. There will be music and a health and wellness vendor fair. The first 100 attendees will receive a free swag bag of cycling goodies. More information is available at CultureHHI.org/cycle-celebration.
Beyond the celebration, we are looking at ways to make our major corridors safe for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, whether you are a serious cyclist or leisure bike rider. We are also considering a Town ordinance pertaining to electric-assist bicycles (or “e-bikes,” as they are commonly known).
As part of the fiscal year 2022 Capital Improvements Project plan, the Town has launched the Pedestrian and Vehicular Enhancements project. It includes the following major corridors: William Hilton Parkway from Spanish Wells Road to Sea Pines Circle, Pope Avenue, New Orleans Road, Arrow Road, and Palmetto Bay Road.
The focus is on improvements aimed at safety, beautification, and consistency to include landscaping, signage, pathways, vehicle movement, pavement markings, lighting and other components. The Town of Hilton Head Island has contracted with a team led by MKSK, including Toole Design and Kimley-Horn, to facilitate the preparation of corridor improvement recommendations.
The consultants we are working with have experience in helping cities and towns better plan their communities so people can enjoy walking and biking and can safely use other modes of transportation.
Along with Town staff, the consultants will facilitate meetings this month with various stakeholder groups to get their input. Their feedback will be valuable as we plan enhancements for the major corridor areas.
The Town provides 64 miles of pathways around the island for people to walk and bike on. More people want to use different modes of transportation on them, including e-bikes. On May 17, our Town Council will consider an ordinance to allow the use of e-bikes on publicly owned pathways.
We encourage the public to follow the progress of our initiatives. You can track the real-time status of each project on our strategic plan dashboard on the Town’s website at hiltonheadislandsc.gov/strategicplan/. If you have questions or concerns about any of our initiatives and ordinances, please share them with your council representative. We value your input.
John McCann is the mayor of the Town of Hilton Head Island. JohnM@hiltonheadislandsc.gov