By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach has scheduled a public workshop meeting for Wednesday September 13th from 6PM to 8PM at Town Hall. The meeting will focus on the upcoming Lake Park Blvd Traffic Study and will be held in the Council meeting room.
Earlier this year Town Council member Leann Pierce expressed concern regarding pedestrian safety along North Lake Park Blvd (Highway 421).
During a March 28th, workshop meeting, Council member Leann Pierce expressed concern with traffic congestion in that area of North Lake Park Blvd and the safety of pedestrians crossing the four lane road. She asked, "Have we ever looked at or considering between that first stoplight where the old Food Lion shopping center is and the next stoplight. That area has grown and grown and groan" and, "We have the two restaurants and now we have the arcade and we have the subway and the bank and the hardware store. It is impossible to pull out of there. It's impossible to walk across the street. And I see people standing in the middle of the street waiting for the other side to clear."
Pierce asked if there are options to install crosswalks in the area because, "It is awful and we haven't even started into the summer time." She said her concern wasn't necessarily the traffic congestion because people can pull out and turn around elsewhere adding that, "I do care about the pedestrians and I see more development in that congested area" from the existing stoplight at Federal Point Shopping Center and the intersection of North Lake Park Blvd and Saint Joseph Street. She said, "All of that is just congestion from one to the other."
Town Manager Michael Cramer said the Town could ask the North Carolina Department of Transportation for a review of that area. He added, "I do think you'll find that maybe some of the things that change in the next few months with that intersection might benefit us."
Kimley Horn represented Harris Teeter earlier this year when the Town Council approved a modification to a Conditional Use Permit for the project to be located on North Lake Park Blvd. They performed a traffic analysis of the impacts the project would have on traffic flow along North Lake Park.
Cramer expressed an interest in hiring Kimley Horn to conduct a traffic study of North Lake Park Blvd for the Town.
On Friday May 26th, Cramer wrote to Guy in an email, "I hope you are doing well. Carolina Beach is starting another tourist season in grand style with tons of tourists and traffic. At the last Harris Teeter council meeting you and I briefly discussed my interest in having a study completed for Lake Park Blvd from Dow Rd to Carl Winner Ave. I would like to get a quote from you to perform a landuse and parking study of the area to determine potential impacts of additional development and potential solutions."
Cramer and Guy met Thursday June 1st. The following day Guy informed Cramer a Corridor Study for that one mile stretch of North Lake Park Blvd would likely cost $35,000.
Kimley Horn would begin by visiting the area and taking photos, measurements and collecting traffic count data during peak times.
The following intersections would be examined for traffic counts:
1. Dow Road at N. Lake Park Boulevard
2. Federal Point Shopping Center Driveway at N. Lake Park Boulevard
3. Bennet Lane at N. Lake Park Boulevard
4. Winner Avenue at N. Lake Park Boulevard
5. St Joseph Street at N. Lake Park Boulevard
6. Carl Winner Drive at N. Lake Park Boulevard
The next step would be involving the public including a public informational session and a presentation of their findings to the Town Council.
The study would focus on existing conditions and future conditions as the area continues to develop, present transportation alternatives and prepare conceptual designs of proposed improvements. After reading through the proposal from Guy, Cramer explained, "This looks good. Just what I wanted. The only thing I did not see is a schedule. Please forward to me the scope and fee proposal with location for signatures and include a proposed schedule. I would like us to get started ASAP following the July 1 fiscal year."
The Town Council agreed to contract with Kimley Horn and the study is ongoing.
The September 13th workshop will begin with a short presentation from consultant Jonathan Guy with Kimley-Horn, reviewing data and some of the constraints related to the area between Carl Winner Ave. and Dow Rd. Following the presentation, participants can visit interactive stations at their own pace and help provide us with information, context, and ideas about the traffic issues in the project area. Feedback from participants will contribute to the planning process, including the creation of goals and objectives, and the understanding of existing conditions of traffic on Lake Park Blvd. between Dow Rd. and Carl Winner Ave.
The Town encourages anyone interested in this topic or who work or own property in the traffic study area to attend.