CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Residents and tourists in Carolina Beach have one common problem: traffic.
Ever since the road diet condensed Lake Park Blvd. from four lanes to three, there have been heavy backups, particularly on summer weekends. Now town council has decided to reconsider the issue.
“There’s one thing about the road diet: once people get to Kure Beach they can’t leave,” said Dean Lambeth, mayor of neighboring Kure Beach.
Lambeth says the so-called road diet in Carolina Beach has been a problem on Pleasure Island.
Carolina Beach made the change to the pattern a year ago to help regulate traffic conditions on Lake Park Blvd. Instead many people say it has done quite the opposite.
Lambeth says residents and officials down the island are feeling the effects.
“Our main concern is safety,” Lambeth said. “If we were to have an emergency call on the beach, a drowning or something like that, it would have been really rough to try and get an emergency vehicle out there to get somebody off that beach.”
Residents of Carolina Beach have their own concerns.
“It’s always backed up, so there is constant traffic,” Carolina Beach resident Adriane Lazarte. “The bike lanes, the parking spots are set up diagonally, and the bike lanes are behind them, so everyone has to back up into the bike lane. I’ve seen several people get hit by cars on their bicycles.”
Residents say Lake Park Blvd. is a disaster on summer weekends. They are also beginning to see build up on Dow Road and many other roads that intersect with the main drag.
Along Lake Park Blvd., in one direction traffic can back all the way up to Kure Beach and in the other to Snows Cut Bridge. Now town officials know they have to reassess their traffic patterns.
“I do see how it could be a problem, but if you go to any other coastal community there’s going to be backups and traffic issues,” Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said. “We have done some public outreach. We’ve put some pamphlets in some of the hotels to give people a better idea of how to get around.”
The Lake Park Traffic Committee will have a meeting Friday about the issue. Town council will meet Tuesday, where it is certain to come up as well.
Carolina Beach Town Councilman Bob Lewis told us it has cost the town about $30,000 for additional police assistance to direct traffic on busy weekends. Owens said going back to the old traffic pattern would cost about $200,000.