- Published on Friday, 01 June 2012 14:39
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Traffic moved freely over Memorial Day weekend in Carolina Beach.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation was paid $200,000 by the Town of Carolina Beach to remove a failed Road Diet traffic pattern last month and return Lake Park Blvd to a four-lane pattern. A pattern that served the Town well for so many decades.
The Road Diet reduced the four-lane section of Lake Park Blvd in the downtown area from Carl Winner Ave to the Lake from four lanes to two with a center turn lane and bike lanes directly behind diagonally parked cars.
This should serve as a reminder to all elected officials on what not to do when implementing new traffic patterns.
First, get an up-to-date engineering plan that makes several recommendations based on current traffic data. Don't rely on studies that are three, four or more years old.
Second, test a traffic pattern first. Don't rush to replace temporary painted lines with permanent lines that are extremely costly to remove as opposed to temporary paint.
When the public tells you, in no uncertain terms and in large numbers, that a new traffic pattern isn't working, don't spend months and months taking traffic counts after the fact and then ignoring those counts that indicate a new pattern is not sufficient to serve a community.
For example, after the Road Diet was implemented, an engineer brought the traffic counts to the Council (those members at the time) and the numbers indicated the volume of traffic was beyond a point where a Town should consider switching to a different pattern to handle more traffic.
It's not good when Town officials lobby for Walk, Don't Walk signs and then after they reduce the number of lanes and cause traffic congestion, to even offer up the idea those signs are part of the cause of traffic congestion.
Testing resolutions to a problem born from lack of quality research and engineering and then spending thousands dollars on consultants and an alternate route sign to divert traffic away from the small businesses in the downtown area is a bad idea. Especially when the traffic diverted ultimately congested both Lake Park and Dow Road as the alternate route.
I'm sure this information has already been absorbed by those leaders, former and current, in Carolina Beach as well as the administration that serves them.
If this Town is to grow in the future with new large hotels and other redevelopment, reducing traffic flow was easily not the answer.
It's simple; you never reduce the width of a river to solve a flooding problem.