- Published on Friday, 01 June 2012 14:38
- Written by Super User
By ROBERT LEWIS
Carolina Beach Town Councilman
I want to thank everyone who came out to voice their opinion and addressed council concerning the failure of the road diet during council meetings last year. Your input and the work of our town appointed road diet traffic committee (Dennis Barbour, Alan Gilbert, LeAnn Pierce, Jerry Bigley, Mike Kirkbride and Ron Clontz) helped convince some on council to gain the support of my motion to go back to four lanes on Lake Park Blvd in our CBD. This past weekend clearly demonstrated the difference between three and four lanes along Lake Park Blvd in the business district of our town.
As you all know the road diet started back in 2010 as part of our Master Plan and a phased approach to a new Streetscape design for the future. Unfortunately the recommendations of a town hired professional transportation consulting firm did not take into account all the factors concerning our unique Island constraints as it relates to inbound and outbound traffic patterns to get on and off the beach.
The result was traffic gridlock almost every weekend during the summer. Add to that the increased safety risks of bike lanes positioned right behind diagonal parking. As the NCDOT implemented the road diet as part of the total resurfacing of Lake Park Blvd in 2010 our council did request our town manager to request we test the new stripping pattern through the summer of 2010 before permanent stripping was laid down. Somehow the contractor was under the direction by NCDOT to make the stripping permanent as part of completing their contract in the spring of 2010.
With 4 lanes installed this past weekend south bound traffic from the bridge slowed as is typical on Saturday morning and early afternoons on a summer holiday weekend but as reported in the Star News still moved much better than the past two summers. The real benefit was north bound traffic from destinations south of our lake which with the road diet backed up to Kure Beach every afternoon and evening during summer weekends but this weekend ran smoothly through town.
One area where we had to come to a compromise were the elimination of the bike lanes in the area of the CBD which are no longer part of the design and as in the past bike riders will have to share the lanes with motor vehicles and golf carts in the CBD to get around.
I have already heard from a number of business owners and town residents how much better the traffic flow has been over the past couple weeks but this past weekend was the real test and the 4 lane design provided the much needed traffic relief we had planned to obtain. Earlier this month council and staff also requested that NCDOT spend a day in Carolina Beach timing the lights properly to help maximize traffic flow.
I want to thank my fellow council members and town staff for keeping the pressure on NCDOT to get this project completed before our summer tourist season and I hope everyone has a safe and happy summer.
PS: The June 12th meeting council will be voting on the new budget for the new Fiscal year 2012/2012. Those who want to voice their opinions on the budget should plan to attend this final public hearing.
These opinions are my own and are not meant to reflect those of our town council or any of its members.