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Carolina Beach still trying to lower speed limits around town, submits requests to NCDOTCarolina…

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Proposed changes to Carolina Beach speed limits have been submitted to the NCDOT (Port City Daily/Courtesy Town of Carolina Beach)

CAROLINA BEACH — The leaders and residents of Carolina Beach are nothing if not persistent in their requests to the NCDOT regarding the lowering of speed limits around town.

In their latest attempts to slow things down, town staff has requested the reduction of speed to 25 miles per hour (mph) for the length of Lake Park Boulevard from Dow Road to Kure Beach.

In a weekly update to Mayor Joe Benson, Planning Director Jeremey Hardison explained that these requests have been submitted to the NCDOT and he has also let Kure Beach officials know since the changes would impact their residents as well.

But it’s not just Lark Park Boulevard the town is hoping to slow down, the staff has also requested the lowering of the speed limit on Dow Road (again) as well as Ocean Boulevard.

In 2017 the town tried to get the NCDOT to approve the reduction in speed on Dow Road from Lake Park Boulevard to Hamlet Drive from 45 m.p.h to 35 m.p.h., but ultimately, the NCDOT said the road did not warrant the changes.

According to a previous decision from NCDOT, “This section on Dow Road does not meet warrants to change the speed limit per NCDOT requirements. NCDOT does not support lowering the speed limit from 45 to 35 m.p.h.”

But NCDOT was not supportive of the request then — however, another request was looked at favorably.

In 2017, there were actually two proposed changes to the speed limits on Dow Road, one of which came from a resident’s request directly to NCDOT to lower the speed limit to 45 m.p.h. for the entirety of the road.

Since the street itself does not actually lie within municipal limits there was no need for town approval of the changes — but ultimately, the NCDOT never made the changes for the entirety of Dow Road.

Pleasure Island is a small island consisting of two municipalities that would both be affected by the changes and Hardison suggested getting input from neighboring Kure Beach before any decisions are made.

“Assuming DOT’s approval, final implementation would still require a Council decision following a public hearing and TRC. The same applies to Ocean Blvd. As for a Dow Rd reduction to 35MPH from LPB North to Harper, that would/should involve KB input, let alone NCDOT approval,” Hardison wrote.

The residents and leaders of Kure Beach were hesitant to any speed limit changes in 2017 to Dow Road. Then-Mayor Emilie Swearingen wrote a letter to the NCDOT expressing her concerns.

“I’m a little concerned that DOT would change the speed limit in our extraterritorial jurisdiction based on a request from one citizen who could own property on the island but may not even live in New Hanover County. Do you ever discuss these decisions with local officials before making a final decision?” Swearingen wrote.

Hardison said he has submitted the requests for traffic studies to be conducted on these three routes and they usually take 8-12 weeks to complete.

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