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Carolina Beach Council To Address Speeding At Elementary School

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CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council agreed Tuesday March 12, that traffic conditions surrounding the Carolina Beach Elementary School are creating safety hazards for children and parents.
Local resident Samantha Winebar addressed the Council explaining, "I just want to bring to the Council's concern on the pedestrian safety around the school and lake area. Myself, born and raised down here and road my bike to school and never had issues. I'm the mother of a six year old child and I'm very at fear for her safety right now."
Winebar explained, "Usually in a school walking zone its about a half mile to a mile. That's also with parks and recreation as well. If you will notice near Ashley High School there are speed bumps, plenty of stop signs. We don't have that. I'm proposing that we get speed bumps put in near the Carolina Beach Lake area and near the school to alleviate this."
She said, "Yes, there hasn't been an accident yet, but its going to happen. I do have a petition from neighbors and concerned parents in regards to this matter but I cannot urge you enough to consider getting this done because its our children."
She said the Town can make improvements such as planting flowers, "But if our babies are not growing up to enjoy it, what's the point."
Council member Sarah Friede said, "Three of us on council have five or six year olds at the school. I walk my six year old every day and before that I use to walk my older son until he got to the point that he stopped acknowledging that he had a mother and walked 50 yards ahead."
She said, "This has been an ongoing issue and has been brought to Principal Cindy Wartel's attention over the years by neighbors and myself that people drive on the sidewalk right outside the school. They don't seem to realize that it is a sidewalk... Its in that two block vicinity where people try to run over your child to get their kids there on time."
Friede said one car stopped within a couple of feet of her knees when crossing the street.
Winebar said the Police Department is aware of the issue and have been discussing it  with her.
She said, "Ultimately, around the school, speed bumps are going to be our best bet."
She said a speed limit of 15 mph would help slow traffic in addition to the speed bumps and it is a low cost solution.
Senior Planner Ed Parvin said, "If you want to lower the speed limit, we can bring that back and do it in an ordinance. If you want to put speed bumps in, there could be some unintended consequences with doing that."
He said the Town could consult a traffic engineer adding that, "It might not be the great thing you think it is. There are others things you can do."
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth said Council would direct Town staff to, "come back with a plan to discuss where it is appropriate to limit 15 mph. I drive my kids everyday and I see that."
He explained, "Speed bumps, I'm not quite there yet because it just changes traffic patterns and what happens. But clearly getting the speed limit down and posting school signs" should be considered.
He said, "We are a pedestrian friendly community and should definitely look at that."
Friede said, "I think this is one of the few schools left in the county where there are so many children who walk and bike ride and we need to encourage that and protect their safety."
Reed Whitesell, a resident living near the school, wrote in an email to Police Chief Kurt Bartley on March 6th, "This AM I witnessed what I thought was going to be a horrible accident as a young lady speeding down the street narrowly missed her son on his bike. This lady routinely speeds down the 300 block and appears oblivious to the pedestrians, especially the kids on bikes, etc."
Carolina Beach Elementary School is located at 400 South 4th Street near the Carolina Beach Lake.