Carolina Beach Council Discusses Lowering Speed Limit On Dow Road

(Pictured Above:) Dow Road near the Town of Carolina Beach Waste Water Treatment Plant and Mike Chappel Park where kids play soccer and various other sports. Dow Road is currently 55 mph near the park, and 45 mph at another location near a busy crossing for pedestrians walking and riding bicycles. (Pictured Above:) Dow Road near the Town of Carolina Beach Waste Water Treatment Plant and Mike Chappel Park where kids play soccer and various other sports. Dow Road is currently 55 mph near the park, and 45 mph at another location near a busy crossing for pedestrians walking and riding bicycles.

Carolina Beach Council Discusses Lowering Speed Limit On Dow Road Featured

By / Local News / Wednesday, 26 August 2020 18:16

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - In 2019, the Carolina Beach Town Council asked permission to lower speed limits on portions of Lake Park Blvd as well as Dow Road. Both roads are regulated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

NCDOT agreed to lower the limits on portions of Lake Park Blvd, but denied the Town's request to lower limits on portions of Dow Road which is an alternate route running north to south on the west side of Pleasure Island to Kure Beach. Last month the Council expressed a desire revisit the Dow Road speed limit request to NCDOT after Town Manager Bruce Oakley said a recent meeting with NCDOT indicated new leadership was open to the idea.

Councilman Lynn Barbee explained during the Council's August 25th, workshop, "Last month we had meetings with DOT and they told us they are willing to approve speed limits if we agree to enforce the speed limit on Dow and Ocean Blvd. What it is existing, it's 45 mph and changes 55mph on (Dow Road)."

He explained, "We proposed option one, is change Dow all the way to 45mph and Ocean to 25 mph. The next option, Dow all 45 mph and Ocean 35 mph. We just want to present that. Not approving it today we just want to show you these options."

Barbee said the Council could discuss it and possibly present a resolution at their September meeting.

Mayor Leanne Pierce said it was her understanding the neighboring Kure Beach Town Council will be discussing the proposal at their next meeting in September.

Mayor Pro Tem Jay Healy explained, "My only concern is if you take a look at the studies that have been done when it's 55, the average speed basically they are going 65 mph. At 45, they are basically going 55 mph. So one of two things that has to happen. The enforcement piece has to take place if we change this. What I would like to see, I'm fine with 45 all the way down to Ocean. I would like to see you drop to 40 mph. I know we can't do 35 because of the golf cart situation, but I think 40 mph at Tarboro or even the street before that walkway."

Healy explained, "A lot of these studies were done before that [cross walk] was still heavily trafficked."

Currently the speed limit on Dow Road in the area of the new crosswalk at Harper and Dow Road is 45 mph. Healy said he would like to see it reduced to 40 mph. He said south of that area, the 55mph zone should be reduced to 45 mph.

Healy explained, "It has to be slow enough for them to stop at that crosswalk. I mean, next meeting, I'll be glad to bring in video."

Healy proposed lowering the speed limit from 45 to 40 mph from Lake Park Blvd to Tarbroro on Dow Road, and then from 55 mph to 45 mph from Tarboro to Ocean Blvd (Town limits entering Kure Beach) where it would remain 55 mph.

Barbee explained, "To do this, if DOT approves this, one of the conditions is that we enforce it. I think in all of us reading through this material are beginning to question enforcement on Dow... it seems to be that we do not have sufficient speed enforcement on there."

Barbee explained, "I was stunned by some of these numbers. I mean, according to the study, on the section by the State Park, in a 24 hour period we had 102 vehicles going over 110mph. That's what the study said. And your first thing is, that can't be true. But then when you look at the other speed monitors positions they support that and I don't believe two monitors got it wrong twice."

He explained, "We have got to slow people down in my opinion."

Mayor Leanne Pierce recommend placing mobile speed radar signs along Dow Road to alert people to their current speed and the posted speed limit.

Barbee said, "We see from these numbers that people don't follow the signs that are there. So the next piece of that is enforcement. Until you start writing some tickets and people start to slow down. The word will spread real fast, $250 ticket and your insurance going up suddenly changes opinions."

Town Manager Bruce Oakley recommended Council try to get DOT approval for a turn-lane on Dow Road at the entrance to the Carolina Beach State Park.

He explained, "That is getting, in my opinion, extremely tough."

The Council will discuss the issue again at their upcoming September 8th meeting.

If they decided to move forward with a resolution of intent, that would be forwarded to NCDOT for consideration.

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