Carolina Beach Planning Commission To Consider Alternate North End Traffic Patterns At September 10th Meeting

Carolina Beach Planning Commission To Consider Alternate North End Traffic Patterns At September 10th Meeting Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 09 September 2015 04:00

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach is working on designs to convert east-west streets between Carolina Beach Avenue North and Canal Drive to one-way traffic.
The Planning and Zoning Commission will consider several proposals at their upcoming Thursday September 10th, meeting at Town Hall at 6:30PM.
According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, the concepts are based off of recommendations made in the 2004 “North End Circulation and Traffic Study”, as well as amendments made to the Street Ordinance in February of 2003.
The Carolina Beach Police Advisory Committee discussed traffic on the North End of Carolina Beach earlier this summer, specifically Canal Drive, Carolina Beach Avenue North and all cross streets in between. According to Town Manager Michael Cramer, the committee reviewed issues with traffic and parking patterns on streets connecting between Canal Drive and Carolina Beach Avenue North and recommended an alternating one-way street configuration that was previously adopted by the Council in 2003.
Cramer explained, "The Police Advisory Committee discussed two critical issues related to traffic. The first issue was the related to the residential streets on the North End between Canal and Carolina Beach North. Over the years we have had a significant issue with the traffic pattern and parking on these streets.  In February 11, 2003 the Town Council approved a change to the ordinance related to one way streets and created alternating one way streets on all residential streets between Canal and Carolina Beach North and meter on-street parking created by the traffic pattern change. Although the change was made in our ordinance it was never implemented on street."
Cramer explained, "The Police Advisory Committee reviewed this issue and made a motion recommending that council implement the alternating one way street configuration adopted in 2003. Town Staff is reviewing the size, condition and street access characteristics and will bring the information and the Police Advisory Committee recommendation to council by the end of August."
According to Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin, "The north end peninsula is currently accessible by Carolina Beach Ave North and Canal Drive. Both streets are two-way, north-south running with intersecting two way side streets running east-west. These side streets vary in right-of-way width from 25’ to 30’, with actual pavement widths varying from 20’-24’. Parking is currently permitted on either side of these east-west side streets, making these streets nearly impassable during certain times for local traffic and public safety officials."
Parvin explained in February 2003, based on recommendations from Planning Staff, Town Council voted to change Chapter 9, Article VI, Schedule F designating the north end side streets, beginning at Pelican Lane and ending at Salt Marsh Lane, as one-way. The following year, in May of 2004, the ‘North End Traffic Circulation Study’ was released and included alternatives for improving traffic flow and bettering pedestrian and bicyclist safety. All three suggested alternatives recommended the conversion of Scotch Bonnet, Starfish, Sand Dollar, Clam Shell, and Sand Fiddler Lanes to one-way streets to allow for some on street parking.
He explained, "For reasons unknown to current Planning Staff, neither the code changes made in February 2003, nor any portion of the alternatives recommended by the May 2004 Traffic Study were ever implemented."
He explained, "Planning Staff was asked by Public Safety Officials to examine alternatives for traffic flow on the north end side streets. Both Police and Fire have experienced access issues with the current traffic pattern.  During the summer and often in the shoulder seasons the north end side streets fill up with on-street parking on both sides.  The Fire Department is often unable to access the side streets much less set up an engine in the event of a fire.  The Police have experienced similar concerns.  Additionally, many of the older buildings are located immediately adjacent to the right of ways on Canal and Carolina Beach Avenue North.  This has created difficulty with vision clearance for drivers exiting onto Canal and CBAN.  Due to the small right of ways it is also often difficult or impossible to turn onto one of the side streets while a car is stopped on the side street."
Parvin explained that after receiving feedback from several members of the public that live in the area, the Police Advisory Committee, and the Technical Review Committee (TRC), the following alternatives are recommended as options for the Planning Commission to consider at their September 10th, meeting. Those include:
Option 1. Keep the east-west side streets two-way and eliminate all on street parking.
Parvin explained the benefits of that option are:
- No change to traffic pattern
- Addition of parking signs would allow for enforcement
- Better access for Public Safety
- Less encroachment issue
He explained the Cons of that option are:
- ‘No Parking’ signage installation and maintenance
- Eliminates overflow parking
- Lack of sight distance at several intersections
- Multi-modal safety concerns
Option 2. Adopt one-way alternating traffic pattern as specified in the Town Code and eliminate all on street parking.  Salt Marsh would stay two way (TRC Recommendation).
Parvin explained the benefits of that option are:
- Allows for adequate lane width (20’-24’ varies)
- Addition of ‘No Parking’ signs would allow for enforcement
- Better access for Public Safety
- Removes issues with sight distance
- Less Encroachment issues
He explained the Cons of that option are:
- Eliminates overflow parking
- ‘No Parking’ and ‘Do Not Enter’ signage installation and maintenance
- New traffic pattern for community
Option 3. Adopt one-way alternating traffic pattern as specified in the Town Code and designate 8’x22’ metered, parallel parking spaces on certain side streets.  This was the Police Advisory and TRC recommendation. Police Advisory heard this proposal prior to most of the analysis. They unanimously voted to approve this option, but asked staff to continue researching it’s viability. TRC originally recommended this option, however safety concerns with Fire access prevented this from being the preferred option.
He explained the benefits of that option are:
- Allows for adequate lane width (12’-16’, varies)
- Accommodates existing development/possible revenue generator for Town
- Designates ROW
He explained the Cons of that option are:
- Fire access concerns
- ‘No Parking’ signage and line painting installation/maintenance
- New traffic pattern for community
Parvin explained the impact on the budget would result from additional signs and pavement markings.
He explained, "All departmental representatives on TRC were in favor of alternative 2 due to all safety concerns being eliminated. Option 3 was the most ideal but the on-street parking limits the ability for the fire department to potentially set up the ladder truck in the most ideal spot for extinguishing a fire and getting citizens out of a building.
The issue first came up in 2002 during a project to replace sewer lines on Canal Drive and Carolina Beach Avenue North. During that project two way traffic was permitted on Carolina Beach Avenue North. Once the project was completed, some residents wanted the road returned to a one-way street. During a study of traffic in that area, the Council considered making every other side street one-way in opposite directions.

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