Southern Shores group offers cut-thru traffic plan

By on March 12, 2021

The new proposal is the latest in Southern Shores’ ongoing efforts to curtail summer cut-through traffic. (File photo: Kip Tabb)

During a March 11 meeting, the Southern Shores committee charged with exploring options to mitigate cut-thru traffic offered recommendations to remedy the two-decades old problem of summer traffic clogging neighborhood streets as tourists make their way to northern destinations in Duck and Corolla.

Those recommendations – including an unmanned gate on S. Dogwood Trail near U.S. 158 and Juniper Trail that would offer access only to residents, as well as “Do Not Enter” and “Local Traffic Only” signs at key locations in the northern part of town – are expected to be presented to the Southern Shores Town Council during its March 16 meeting.

The plan unveiled by the committee also recommends several seasonal no entry points or local traffic only signs, including spots at Ocean Boulevard, Wax Myrtle, Sea Oats, Hill Crest and Hickory.

“We are getting trampled,” said Committee Chair Tommy Karole, at the March 11 meeting. In 2002, when discussions began about the cut-thru traffic, he said there were roughly 2,000 cars passing through Southern Shores neighborhoods per week. “We are twenty years past that, and there are ten thousand [cars].” If council decides not to do anything about this, they are ignoring the wishes of the people in this town – bottom line.”

The recommendations come on the heels of a town-funded traffic analysis by J.M. Teague Engineering & Planning which offered solutions the committee did not adopt. “I’m not here to pick apart the Teague Engineering plan,” said Karole. “What I am here to do is suggest the mousetrap we think is better…we have is advantage of being down in the trenches, so we know the layout better.”

While noting that any plan would have to be supported by signage as well as a municipal ordinance, Karole said the two gates would be controlled by radio frequency technology and open for Southern Shores residents who have a bar code sticker affixed to their windshield. Others visiting or accesses those streets would have to come via E. Dogwood Trail.

Karole suggested that the gates at S. Dogwood Trail and Juniper Trail would be the least inconvenient to residents.

“We can break cross traffic with gates on a year-round basis and then do the temporary stuff for three months,” noted committee member David Watson.

“Once people get used to it, I think they will be really happy with it as far as keeping ten thousand vehicles out of the neighborhood,” Watson said, noting that walking down Dogwood on a weekend day in the winter is quite beautiful. “If you walk down it on a Saturday [in the summer], you might as well be walking down the bypass because it is horrible.”

Southern Shores Town Council liaisons Matt Neal and Elizabeth Morey said that they would relay the recommendations to the council during its March 16 meeting. Although these recommendations could not be implemented in time for the upcoming summer season, Neal said he plans to push for measures to curb cut-thru traffic this summer and use it as a time to “tip toe into these other seasonal blockades.”

For her part, Morey noted that a phased approach to the recommendations may be the most feasible thing to do.



Comments

  • Mary

    One more thought…a flashing warning sign should be posted before the rest center in Currituck stating “Last Bathroom Stop For Hours!” Also, the county should hand out disposable urinal devices at strategic points along the roads along with deposit receptacles further down to avoid litter. Traffic is so slow that shouldn’t be an issue. Imagine having small children having to use the bathroom but can’t for hours…or an adult too as far as that goes! If you want the tourists, accommodate them!

    Sunday, Mar 14 @ 1:31 pm
  • Just sayin

    The plan sounds fine, except from the point of view of the contracted workers who are hired to work at the properties in the neighborhood. I guess we will have to raise our prices a bit to work there because we will have to “go around” to access the properties. Trinitie trail is next to have a gate?

    Tuesday, Mar 16 @ 6:46 am