Carolina Beach trying to resolve 'road diet' problem
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CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Last year the Town of Carolina Beach trimmed down it's main road from four to two lanes. The "road diet" for Lake Park Blvd. has caused some huge headaches for people. Today the town council met to talk about possible solutions.

The road diet not only did away with lanes of traffic. It also added a dual purpose turn lane, bike lanes and diagonal parking spaces. Severe congestion problems, safety of bicyclists and small business sales suffering are just a few of the problems the diet has caused.

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"The pure, simple solution to the problem is to go back to the way it was; to a four-lane road and re-stripe it," Carolina Beach resident Leroy Franks said.

But undoing what has been done will come at a hefty price for tax payers.

"If the object is to go back to the four-lane section, the number I've seen is about $500,000," Town Manager Tim Owens said.

Tuesday the Town Council met with a panel of experts, at a cost of about $15,000, to discuss what to do about the problems. Right now they are focusing on less expensive, short-term solutions, like adding directional signage and having police control traffic during high-traffic weekends.

But for one small business owner, the damage cannot be undone.

"Immediately when they implemented the road diet in those first holiday weekends, it was traumatic, and it was catastrophic for us," Alan Gilbert said.

Gilbert used to own an art gallery and gift shop on Lake Park Blvd. He said he eventually had to shut his doors because not as many people were coming in.

A long-term solution discussed is installing round-abouts, which would cost between $200,000 and $500,000.

Though no definite plans have been made on how to solve the road's issues, some short term solutions will be discussed in further detail Tuesday evening. The Town Council meetings starts at 6:30 p.m. with a special hearing around 7:30 p.m. to continue the discussion.

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After looking at the road dieting in Carolina Beach (from Carl Winner Ave to the Carolina Lake area), seems to me there is no clear cut parallel streets to Lake Park Dr.
In High Point there are parallel streets to Main Street (Hamilton, Johnson and Hillcrest). The issues experienced in Carolina Beach are not relative to the planned road dieting in High Point, as Hamilton, Johnson and Hillcrest will allow for parallel traffic options.

The City of High Point North Carolina is considering doing this exact same thing on the primary center of town roadway. Wise heads have spoken against it but a minority is pushing and pushing to move forward with it, almost guaranteeing success.

I hope they'll consider what you folks in Carolina Beach have experienced with the same "experiment" and learn from it, but I'm betting they won't. In fact, they have been told it'll cost about 10 to 15 million to make the infrastructure changes alone, but they are not deterred and seem hell bent to go down the same road you unfortunate folks have.

I am curious - was your street diet performed on the advice of a "consultant?" Perhaps you can take some legal action against him/her to recover your costs.

Where on earth does a figure like $500,000 for a few concrete roundabouts come from???????

...what I want to know is how in this feeble world can it cost a half-million dollars to simply re-stripe the lanes and re-program 2 traffic signals? Ohhhh yeah, that's right, the unabated NCDOT is doing this work. It will consume 78 men for 6 weeks, 123 shovels, 26 yellow 4 door trucks, a skip loader, a backhoe, two bulldozers and 12 large dumptrucks. Not to mention a crapload of orange cones and vests.
Sorry, this change was implemented without investing in the FIRST traffic study to see if it was even possible to work! $500,000.00 to re-stripe and re-program? I WANT THAT contract!!!

The really sad part. When all of this started last spring, the striping was temporary and could've easily been changed. With all of the calls and emails CB town management received from tourists, residents and businesses they proceeded with the defective, unprepared plan anyway. The response to my written concern was, "...just have patience and allow time to get used to it."

How about the residents have the mayor, town council, town manager, town planner who approved the "road diet" to take their own money, labor and go out to Lake Park Blvd and make it right then they may rethink fixing something when it's not broken with your hard earned tax dollars.

Well...after reading the article in the Star News, it does not look like anything is going to be in place, or happening by this summer. Dennis Barbour is right...four lanes may not have been the best, but it was better than what there is now. Who wants to stop at any store along the central business district when you are in a line of barely moving traffic, knowing that after you are done shopping, that you have to pull back out into barely moving traffic? The worst is, if you are heading into the beach and need or want to stop at a store on the left side of the road...I think most will just avoid that, as I have, because of the near impossible task of pulling back out into traffic. What was there, worked, enough to not "fix it".

Why not just put it back like it was?