Editorial: Cape Fear Blvd Traffic Pattern

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 15 October 2014 04:00

Managing Editor

The Carolina Beach Town Council agreed they needed more time to consider various options for a streetscape design on Cape Fear Blvd east of Lake Park Blvd at the Boardwalk. Once an upcoming project to replace water, sewer and storm water lines is complete, a new streetscape design will be implemented including wider sidewalks, landscaping, golf-cart parking, and other features. The question is, should that be a one-way traffic pattern on that portion of Cape Fear Blvd?
The proposal is to convert Cape Fear Blvd east of Lake Park Blvd to a one-way pattern leading to the intersection of Harper Avenue and Canal Drive. (See report on page 1-A) This seems like a great way to make the area more pedestrian friendly. During the summer months people walking throughout the area often interact with vehicle traffic traveling through the area in front of the Boardwalk gazebo. That seems to be the driving force behind this proposed change; to make it safer for pedestrians by limiting vehicle traffic. Consider that vehicles in that area of Cape Fear Blvd are already driving at a snail's pace. Making the road one-way will simply mean they'll be driving along at a snail's pace in a longer line due to congestion at the intersection with Harper Avenue and Canal Drive. And then again with the same vehicles that just had to circle the block. If a person is prone to getting hit by very slow moving vehicles, then changing the road to one-way traffic isn't going to help them. And to date I've not heard of incidents where people were run over by a car at two or five miles per hour near the Boardwalk. If so, let us know!
The current proposal would include 17' 5" sidewalks on either side of Cape Fear Blvd rather than the original plan calling for 10' wide sidewalks.
Making a change to one-way with 17' 5" sidewalks would lock the Town into the traffic pattern with no inexpensive way to revert back to two-way traffic should the one-way plan prove to be a disaster. There are benefits to wider sidewalks for area businesses that could have cafe style seating out front. That's it. There's no other benefit. If the one-way pattern isn't studied first, then it's setting us up for potential failure. Hopefully the Town will stick to the original two-way plan and in ten or so years when the Boardwalk undergoes major redevelopment; perhaps we can study the one-way option in advance rather than in the eleventh hour before work begins.


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