NCDOT updates Nags Head on traffic signal and crosswalk adjustments

Published 11:40 am Thursday, August 24, 2023

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Representatives from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) attended the Nags Head commissioners meeting to update the town on numerous topics relating to road maintenance.

Division traffic engineer Jason Davidson said the traffic signals throughout Nags Head all run together on a cycle, and if there’s excessive traffic on Highway 158, wait times may be longer at crosswalks.

NCDOT put the town on alternate light changing schedules during the Highway 158 road resurfacing project, but Davidson said the original timing has resumed. An updated system is currently being integrated for traffic signals and crosswalks.

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Commissioner Renee Cahoon, however, said that northbound traffic moves much faster than southbound traffic because of the stoplight timing all throughout town. Davidson said he would look into the problem.

He also assured that the timing of the push-button pedestrian crosswalk signal at Bonnett Street has been repaired.

Commissioner Mike Siers requested that a flashing system alerting drivers that a crosswalk is approaching be installed at Bonnett Street because of the foot traffic from Dowdy Park and Nags Head Elementary. Davidson said he would review that location to see if it would be a good candidate for that technology.

The mayor mentioned that at Hollowell Street, until a left turning car pulls up and triggers the signal, the pedestrian crosswalk will not change. “It would be nice if it responded when I pushed the button rather than when a car pulled up,” Mayor Ben Cahoon said. The NCDOT representative said the updated technology should be improving the problem, but he will look into it to see if the push button is malfunctioning.

Davidson said his team has formulated a plan to improve safety and functionality for the “7-11 triangle” as he called it on Oregon Inlet Road near Jennette’s Pier. The mayor requested that whenever that portion of Old Oregon Inlet Road south of Whalebone Junction is resurfaced that a small shoulder for bikes may be added.

Commissioners asked about the possibility of reducing speed on Highway 158. Though Davidson said couldn’t answer specifically if that were a possibility, he would take a look at the data. Renee Cahoon added that she would like to see a consistently lower speed on NC 12 down to perhaps 25 miles per hour because of all the pedestrians on that road.

Regarding the problem with red light running in town, Davidson said NCDOT is looking into installing highly reflective backplates for the traffic lights in an effort to reduce the vision clutter and encourage drivers to stop on time for red lights.

The road paving project will resume in the fall when traffic lightens.

Also during the meeting, commissioners indicated that they are planning on permanently closing a portion of Old Nags Head Woods Road that crosses Lots 3 and 4 pending a land survey.

Police Chief Perry Hale requested that “No Parking Between Signs—Tow Away Zone” signs be posted near the Outer Banks Fishing Pier on S. Oregon Inlet Road in the South Creek Acres subdivision because vehicles parked on both sides of the road block the line of sight and create a safety hazard for the neighborhood.

The signs will be placed 100 feet north and south of the entrance of No Name Road and Old Oregon Inlet Road. Commissions approved the ordinance change as presented.

Commissioners held a workshop to discuss the possibility of adding multi-family housing back as an allowable use in certain districts of town. The leaders agreed there was a need for housing, particularly for those who live and work in Nags Head.

Planning director Kelly Wyatt presented some questions for group discussion: How does the town address infill development of multi-family on existing commercial properties which are already intensely developed? Is this something the town should explore further? Does the town want to allow both townhouse and apartment style developments under the multi-family designation? How are these different from an owner or developer standpoint? What are the appropriate dimensional and density standards? Are accessory dwelling units (ADUs), duplex and triplex uses part of this conversation?

The town will continue the conversation in the coming months.

In the July regular meeting, commissioners approved amendments to the UDO relating to dewatering activities like the installation of an inground pool. The changes will eliminate the ability to discharge or dewater onto adjoining properties, as well as include internal protocols for future permitting of any kind of development that requires excavation where ground water levels are elevated.

Commissioners also approved an ordinance amending the town’s traffic control map, designating Bonnett Street adjacent to The French Door as a “No Parking—Tow Away Zone” and designating Soundside Road as “No Thru Trucks/Buses.”