5/31/21: TRAFFIC NIGHTMARE: TOUR BUS (OR WAS IT A GIANT RV?) MAKES UNSCHEDULED STOP ON WAX MYRTLE TRAIL.

A 45-foot-long, exhaust-spewing, gray Prevost touring bus made an unscheduled hourlong stop in the 300 block of Wax Myrtle Trail yesterday, according to a homeowner on the residential street who submitted the above photograph to The Beacon.

Traffic on the northern end of Wax Myrtle Trail was “at a standstill on both Saturday and Sunday,” reports the homeowner, who took the photo at 4:50 p.m. yesterday.

The Beacon published a photograph on Saturday that Wax Myrtle Trail resident Susan Ferretti posted on Next Door, depicting similar stoppage in this block from what we called a “bird’s eye view.” It, too, was a picture worth a 1,000 words.

“Yesterday was the worst traffic on a Sunday that I’ve ever seen,” said Tommy Karole, who has lived for more than 20 years on East Dogwood Trail near its intersection with South Dogwood Trail and was the chairperson of the citizens’ committee to explore cut-thru traffic in Southern Shores.

“It was unbelievable yesterday,” he said. “I sat there [watching from home] in amazement.”

Mr. Karole, whose committee has submitted a final report to the Town Council with recommendations for action, checked yesterday on the traffic on nearby roads. He confirmed the backup on Wax Myrtle Trail and said that the traffic on the Hillcrest Drive-to-Sea Oats Trail-to Duck Road route was “jammed up,” especially at the SSCA tennis courts.

Residents who live on the stretch of Sea Oats Trail that is under construction told The Beacon that the construction did not deter northbound vacationers from using their road: The rough road conditions only made the drive and the backup worse.

We were able to zoom in on the lettering on the side of the wayward tour bus–or is it someone’s idea of a motorhome?–on Wax Myrtle and pick up “Security Coach [Lincoln or Lines] Ltd.” The third word definitely begins with Li, but we cannot be certain of the other letters.

The lettering on the back of the bus clearly spells out Prevost.

If you can provide more identification about this vehicle, please contact The Beacon at ssbeaconeditor@gmail.com.

Vicky Green of Hillcrest Drive also complained yesterday on Next Door about a tour bus inching along her street. She then corrected herself and called the invader a recreational vehicle.

Could there have been two such montrosities painfully coursing the narrow streets of Southern Shores yesterday?

While residents on South Dogwood Trail, East Dogwood Trail, Hickory Trail, Hillcrest Drive, and Sea Oats Trail have tolerated bumper-to-bumper standstill traffic on summer weekends for going on 10 years now, residents on Wax Myrtle Trail are relatively new to the phenomenon.

In our recollection, it is only within the past few years that the cut-thru traffic standstill has spilled over on to Wax Myrtle Trail, the easternmost road of the three roads in the Southern Shores dunes that run north-south, parallel to Duck Road.

The drivers who contribute to this hazardous, as well as grossly inconvenient and dispiriting, congestion typically divert to Wax Myrtle from Duck Road by turning left on Porpoise Run, Dolphin Run, East Dogwood Trail, and even Hickory Trail.

Rather than being aided by the no-left-turn weekends that the Town Council has planned this summer as its sole effort to prevent cut-thru traffic, residents on Wax Myrtle Trail are potentially disadvantaged by it—unless the Town blocks traffic flow on the diversion streets.

TOWN COUNCIL  MEETING TOMORROW

We remind residents that the Town Council meets tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. There will be two public-comment periods during the meeting, as well as a public hearing on the proposed $8.8 million FY 2021-22 budget, which allocates only $30,400 to seasonal cut-thru traffic control efforts.

(See The Beacon, 5/29/21.)

In lieu of speaking in person at the meeting, you may submit written comments, which will be read aloud by a Town Council member, to Town Clerk Sheila Kane at skane@southernshores-nc.gov.

You will find the meeting agenda and a background packet of materials here: https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-4d49398866c547c2a76ba625a1f651f2.pdf.

The meeting will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/user/TownofSouthernShores.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE: I would like to reiterate that I am still on hiatus from The Beacon and do not plan to report on tomorrow’s meeting. My sense of outrage over injustice, however, drew me back in on Saturday.

I am reminded of Michael Corleone’s famous and deliciously wonderful quote from “The Godfather Part III”: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

I could not resist responding to the outrageous circumstances that occurred on Memorial Day weekend (!) on our residential streets, and I empathize with everyone who had to put up with the traffic scourge.

If a tour bus, or whatever the beached whale was, had been stopped in front of my house, I would have sought a conversation with the driver. I also would have taken note of any names on the side of the bus and written down the license plate number.

We do have a vehicular weight limit on our roads, and tour buses, by any name, are definitely verboten.

I have moved off of the cut-thru route, but I still consider it my problem and will as long as it exists. It contributes to the progressive degradation of a place I have loved for more than 50 years, and I seek to protect this special place, as well as the people who choose to live here.  

A quick story . . . I recently flew to BWI airport in Baltimore from Jacksonville, Fla., as the first leg of a two-leg trip to Norfolk and then home.

I had helped a family member drive back with her pets to Florida, after a month-long visit in Southern Shores, and hopped a plane as soon as we arrived.

I was exhausted when I slid into my middle seat on the packed Southwest airliner and just wanted to sleep, but the passenger to my right was chatty, so I obliged for a while.

It turned out my flight companion and I were from the same hometown and had gone to rival high schools, graduating in the same year! The more we talked, the more “it’s a small world” overlaps in our lives became apparent, including long-term relationships with the Outer Banks.

My family started vacationing in Kill Devil Hills in the mid-1960s, and settled on Southern Shores in 1969, while hers continued to go to Ocean City, Md. But for some time now, my new friend said, she, her husband, and other family members had traveled yearly to Duck for a vacation.

“I hate to tell you this,” she said, sheepishly, “but we cut through your neighborhood to get there. I really feel bad about it because I know how much the residents must object.”

“Believe me,” I told her, “I am well aware of the cut-thru traffic.”

The next time you cut through, I added, “I hope you will think of me.”

And then I nodded off.

Today, Memorial Day, we remember and thank our veterans and pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It’s a good day for calm reflection—far removed from the roads.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 5/31/21

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