By Outer Banks Voice on July 16, 2021
In a continuing effort to curb summer cut-thru traffic in residential neighborhoods, the Town of Southern Shores announced in a July 15 Facebook post that it will make some additional adjustments to mitigation measures this weekend.
While the no-left-turn prohibition at the corner of S. Dogwood and U.S. 158 will remain in place on the weekends through August 15, the town will not close Hickory Trail or chain off the median at key intersections along E. Dogwood Trail on Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18.
The announcement comes after the town closed both the E. Dogwood Trail median and Hickory Trail on July 10, a move that proved to have mixed results
“Clearly any steps we take to re-route the cut-through traffic results in varying impacts to different parts of town,” the post read. “The Town Council has been cautious and deliberate in trying to minimize these impacts.
“Local traffic only” barricades will remain in place on East Dogwood Trail for traffic going north on Hickory Trail, Hillcrest Drive, Sea Oats Trail and Wax Myrtle Trail as well as on Hickory Trail for traffic going north on Hillcrest, Sea Oats and Wax Myrtle. Similar signs will be erected on Hillcrest Trail for traffic going north on Sea Oats.
The municipality is expected to continue working with travel apps such as WAZE and Mapquest to mark key roads as closed.
The post also compared some traffic count data gathered on Saturday, July 10 – when the E. Dogwood Trail median was closed – and Saturday, June 26, when there was no closure. The number of vehicles that passed through town on those two days represented a slight difference of 93. On average, more than 11,000 vehicles pass through Southern Shores on Saturdays and Sundays during the prime tourist season.
According to the data, Hickory Trail saw a 149 percent increase in the number of vehicles on July 10 with the closure compared to June 26. Similarly, Wax Myrtle experienced a 143 percent increase. Meanwhile, Sea Oats Trail and Hillcrest Drive each saw between 30 and 35 percent fewer vehicles.
As a result of the data collected, the post concluded, “The negative impacts taken from the traffic data indicate that those on Wax Myrtle Trail and Hickory Trail received a negative impact disproportionate to the benefits of those on Sea Oats Trail and Hillcrest Drive.
While it may be worth exploring this option further and implementing it in some manner in the future, there is currently no plan to continue the median closures along E. Dogwood Trail or closing off Hickory Trail at either E. Dogwood Trail or Hickory Drive at this time.”
Additionally, Trinitie Trail saw a 25 percent increase in vehicles on July 10 compared to June 26.
“Our goal in implementing any change to the traffic patterns is to keep vehicles that are vacationing north of us on NC 12…We welcome all our visitors to the Outer Banks, but also want to limit the negative impacts on our residential streets,” according to the post.