Editorial: Traffic Should Be Important Aspect Of Land Use Planning

By / Editorials / Tuesday, 19 February 2019 19:14

Managing Editor

The Town of Carolina Beach  should identify that with increased commercial and residential development, it's time for a detailed study of how much traffic our major roadways can handle before major issues of pedestrian safety and traffic congestion occur. A "study" was conducted last year, but evidently that document began collecting dust before the ink even dried.
A new Publix Grocery Store is being built on North Lake Park Blvd. The adjacent property could become home to a future Harris Teeter store. There are a number of large parcels throughout Town where the buildings were damaged by Hurricane Florence and their future status is in limbo waiting for insurance claims to be fulfilled or for the owners to decided whether or not to repair or demolish the structures.
That could open the door to more dense commercial and/or residential multi-family developments.
All of these aspects will contribute to increased traffic flow on the major thoroughfares in Carolina Beach; Lake Park Blvd and Dow Road. Other connecting roads could also see an increase in traffic.
The Town should devote more resources to focusing on strategic planning to control density of future developments. The initial focus should be on how much more development our Town can handle, and what's the appropriate size and balance of residential and commercial redevelopment.
If there are no adjusted controls implemented in terms of zoning regulations, we're all going to find ourselves packed into a sardine can that's about to burst.
Rather than running around being reactive rather than proactive - such as installing crosswalks as increased traffic congestion threatens pedestrian safety - perhaps a better approach is to plan ahead by strategically examining development trends, current verses future traffic counts, and requiring developments to contribute to improving the thoroughfares they will directly benefit from by implementing fees that go directly towards traffic pattern improvements.
How our leaders arrive at a solution is up to them and who those leaders are is left up to the voting public based on their wisdom and input.
You can participate in the Land Use Plan Update now by visiting www.carolinabeachcamaupdate.com
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