MOUNT PLEASANT — The traffic cutting through Cooper Estates and The Grove neighborhoods has pitted residents versus drivers seeking a short cut. It also has pitted neighbors against each other as far as what should be done.
That’s why the town hired Stantec, a traffic consultant, to look at the situation and advise on the options.
Rick Reiff presented the company’s findings Monday, and Town Council’s Transportation Committee got an earful from those on both sides of the issue, with Mayor Linda Page and committee chair having to bang her gavel several times to keep audience members from arguing with each other while in their seats.
Stantec did not recommend the most controversial idea: blocking access to Cottingham or Lansing drives so cars could not use them to get between Coleman Boulevard to Johnnie Dodds Boulevard.
“Although a majority of folks favored them, it was a very divisive issue throughout the (Groves) neighborhood,” Reiff said. “We did not achieve consensus.”
Stantec’s numbers showed the extent of cut-through traffic. About 2,224 vehicles use Cottingham each day, and 58 percent of them are just passing through. Of the 1,612 vehicles on Lansing Drive each day, 42 percent are cutting through.
Reiff said both roads can handle the current traffic loads, adding, “It’s more of a quality-of-life issue for the neighborhoods.”
Stantec weighed closing roads, installing diverters that would halve four-way intersections, building speed humps, chokers and chicanes, which can slow speeds but won’t end cut-through traffic.
The committee agreed to recommend adding two all-way stops on both Cliffwood Drive and Tall Pine Road, as well as one each on Lakeview Drive and Lansing Drive. Lansing also would receive four new speed humps.
It also voted to add a new speed hump to Cottingham Drive and four new speed humps to Pelzer Drive. The intersection of Cottingham and Pelzer also would get a new all-way stop.
Tim Kiel, who lives on Pelzer Drive, urged council to address all the cut-through streets at once so it didn’t shift cut-through traffic from one neighborhood to another.
Tom Keagy, who gave his address as “Lansing Speedway,” referred to an earlier petition in which he said 90 percent of neighbors agreed with closing access to the road either at Coleman or Johnnie Dodds’ frontage road. But other residents disagreed, saying that petition was just to do something, but not necessarily close off roads.
Jean Harrison of Cliffwood Drive called the petition effort “fraudulent.”
“We all want to do something. We would like the traffic to be slower,” she said, but added she doesn’t agree with closing off the road.
Amy Durant, a resident of Groves Manor Court, expressed concern about her children visiting neighborhood homes because there are no sidewalks but a lot of cut-through traffic. “Thankfully, my kids get off the bus in my front yard,” she said.
Troy Barber of Lakeview Drive said he never has had any issues “with traffic that feels threatening,” adding that he used to be friendly with Durant’s husband. “I haven’t seen him in six months. Why? If I had to guess, it’s because of the situation we’re in.”
A few speakers agreed with Stantec’s recommendation of adding sidewalks to help pedestrians. Page vowed to continue to talk about adding sidewalks, but “they’re not in this motion, not today.”
The mayor said she has been talking with town transportation staff about the neighborhoods’ concerns for three years, and those discussions likely will continue no matter what council does next.
“This didn’t happen overnight,” she said, “and we might not solve it today.”
Reach Robert Behre at 843-937-5771 or at twitter.com/RobertFBehre.