CAROLINA BEACH — North Lake Park Boulevard in Carolina Beach might only be 1.1 miles long but as the main thoroughfare through the Town of Carolina Beach, it gets busy.
Traffic on the road, especially during peak season in Carolina Beach can make traversing the island a task, but the town is hoping to address some of the issues surrounding the corridor.
In 2017 Town Council hired Kimley Horn, a planning and engineering company to conduct a traffic study of the corridor, and present viable solutions for the future.
“The N. Lake Park Boulevard Corridor Study is intended to explore was to improve peak and off-peak hour traffic congestion, enhance mobility through improved connectivity, and create an enhanced equilibrium for all travel modes along the corridor,” according to a presentation from Kimley Horn which is to be presented to the town next week.
The study, which began in September 2017, has taken place in five phases. They include, analyzing existing conditions, community and stakeholder input, forecasting and traffic analysis, conceptual plans, and finally, an action plan.
The corridor, which begins around the Food Lion Grocery Store has four traffic signals, nine major intersections, and 73 driveways in its 1.1-mile stretch.
From 2012-2017 the section of Lake Park Boulevard saw 138 crashes, 32 of which were injury crashes; one was fatal. By the numbers, rear-end accidents were the most prevalent with 53 incidents followed by 23 left-turn collisions.
Spring and summer months saw the highest concentration of accidents, with July seeing the most number of incidents.
The two most accident-prone intersections are North Lake Park Boulevard and Dow Road, with 28 collisions, and Lake Park Boulevard and Access Road (Food Lion) with 18.
Seven nodes were identified and existing traffic conditions were tracked, these nodes include:
- Food Lion Driveway/Access Road
- Dow Road
- Federal Point Driveway
- Bennet Lane
- Winner Avenue
- Joseph Street
- Carl Winner Avenue
Current conditions during peak travel times are rated with a letter grade from A-F. In the morning, only one node has an A rating, one has a B, two have D, and three have an F. In the evening peak hour, one has an A, two have Bs, one has a D, one has an E, and two have Fs.
The future looks bleak for these seven nodes, with the company estimating for the year 2025 that no nodes will have a rating better than a C, and the majority will receive ratings of F.
Town Council recently decided to lower the speed limit on Lake Park Boulevard to 35 mph. This reduction in speed will allow golf carts to travel the corridor. The previous speed limit prevented slow moving vehicles from using this section of Lake Park Boulevard.
A potential alternative presented by Kimley Horn is the addition of a lane, making the stretch in question five lanes. The fifth lane would be a middle turning lane.
A second alternative would involve a couplet, which would utilize a side street to improve traffic flow in one direction.
Town Council will receive the presentation on Tuesday and the public is welcome to attend the meeting.
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