Town Manager Cliff Ogburn is recommending that the Town Council approve closing Hickory Trail at East Dogwood Trail and placing local-traffic-only barriers in northbound lanes at other key road accesses in the dunes and in Chicahauk—among the summer weekend traffic mitigation measures that he outlined at the public forum Tuesday—but not blocking outlets on to Duck Road, according to a report he filed for the Council’s May 3 meeting, which was posted yesterday on the Town’s website.
(For background on the Town’s summer traffic plan, see The Beacon, 4/27/22.)
Mr. Ogburn is also recommending that the Council close Ocean Boulevard during peak summer weekend hours at the Duck Road split, near the cell tower, so motorists cannot use the local road to bypass traffic backups on the N.C. 12 thoroughfare between the split and Hickory Trail. (At least, not until Porpoise Run, which is a block north of the split.)
For a summary of the mitigation measures discussed at the forum and Mr. Ogburn’s recommendation, see page 58 of the meeting agenda packet at https://mccmeetings.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/ soshoresnc-pubu/MEET-Packet-0fed0c2da0a14989b65c6bb0d764dc6c.pdf.
According to the meeting agenda, the Council will take up the proposed summer traffic plan as the second item of new business, after the first public-comment period. In the first new item, Mr. Ogburn will establish with the Council a date for a public hearing on the Town’s FY 2022-23 budget, which the Town Manager has not yet published online.
The proposed traffic plan combines a number of measures by which the Town seeks to encourage northbound motorists passing through Southern Shores to stay on U.S. 158 and N.C. 12 and not cut through on residential roads.
In addition to road closures and obstructions, the Town’s plan envisions reaching arriving visitors through property managers at rental companies; using road signage informing visitors that travel is faster on the thoroughfares; and making adjustments to travel apps, such as Waze.
The locations where Mr. Ogburn recommends erecting local-traffic-only northern lane barriers are:
Hillcrest Drive and Sea Oats Trail
Hickory and Wax Myrtle Trail
Hickory Trail and Sea Oats Trail
Hickory Trail and Hillcrest Drive
East Dogwood Trail and Wax Myrtle Trail
East Dogwood Trail and Sea Oats Trail
East Dogwood Trail and Hillcrest Drive
Juniper Trail past the Marketplace entrance
(The latter is an addition to the locations mentioned at the public forum.)
Mr. Ogburn also discussed at the forum closing outlets on to Duck Road from Sea Oats Trail, Eleventh Avenue, Hillcrest Drive, and Hickory Trail, but he is not currently recommending that these closures be made. The Town Council may decide otherwise, and it may consider closures and barriers along other sections of town roads.
Porpoise Run, which connects Duck Road with Ocean Boulevard, is a block north of the proposed Ocean Boulevard closure. Trout Run, Dolphin Run, East Dogwood Trail, and Periwinkle Place also intersect with Duck Road and are other jumping-off points for frustrated northbound visitors.
The Town has decided not to prohibit the left turn from U.S. 158-east on to South Dogwood Trail, a mitigation technique that has been used effectively in recent summers to reduce cut-through traffic volume.
This decision was made without any public discussion by the Town Council. Indeed, the Council, with the exception of Mayor Elizabeth Morey, sat quietly on the sideline Tuesday during the presentation and critique of the traffic plan—with the exception of a few comments by Councilman Matt Neal in response to a homeowner’s remarks about cell-phone technology.
Next Tuesday’s meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. You may live-stream it at https://www.youtube.com/user/TownofSouthernShores.
BEACON NOTE: Due to a conflict, I will be unable to attend or live-stream the Town Council’s meeting. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who attends or views the meeting about the action that the Council takes on the traffic plan and any other news that you may choose to report. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 4/29/22