CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Carolina Beach is planning ahead for the Easter weekend which is usually one of Pleasure Island’s busiest tourist weekends of the year.
In an effort to alleviate traffic on the island the town’s main street underwent a road diet last year, but most people say its been a bust.
“I would just like to meet the guy that that actually did it and congratulate him for doing the worst traffic job in the world,” said Carolina Beach resident Chuck George.
Carolina Beach’s road diet is not even a year old, but it is making for some frustrated drivers and that’s why the town will make some temporary tweaks Easter weekend.
“If we can give an alternate route so people that don’t care through downtown it will help alleviate the traffic,” said Carolina Beach Town Councilman Dan Wilcox.
Those tweaks include placing police officers to the streets, providing an alternate route to get off and on the island and altering timing of traffic signals.
“The purpose of having a traffic light is to keep things moving back and forth,” said Georgie. “Not stopping everything for a half hour at a time. This isn’t New York City and we have New York City traffic.”
Many have wondered why the town doesn’t just re-stripe Lake Park Boulevard to the original setup of 4 lanes with 2 of them going in either direction. Town leaders say that’s just not a suitable option right now.
“We wouldn’t have the ability to re-permit through DOT and make any major changes to the highway in regards to lane structure,” said Wilcox. “That would not be able to be done before the season.”
Councilman Dan Wilcox says re-striping the road is still an option they are considering. Regardless of the frustration and traffic problems, some folks say the new road is simply a safety concern for those on the island.
“It gets so congested that the traffic is backed up all the way to Kure Beach trying to get off the island,” said George. “If people had to get off the island for an emergency it just wouldn’t happen. They’d have to bring in helicopters to get people out of here.”
Town officials say they plan to take the traffic data they collect from Easter weekend and evaluate it. They will then meet again to brainstorm some long-term fixes that will hopefully bring a solution to the problem.