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NCDOT devises a fix for Five Points at HHS

Plans on lower right show the HHS parking lot entrance lined up with North Main Street at Five Points. Plans on lower right show the HHS parking lot entrance lined up with North Main Street at Five Points.

The Five Points intersection will get a new traffic pattern as part of the Hendersonville High School new construction and renovation project if all parties agree to a solution recommended by the NCDOT.

The Henderson County Board of Commissioners got a look at the new traffic management plan on Wednesday when details were unveiled publicly for the first time. Commissioners were generally supportive of the new pattern.
“It looks like the changes is a great improvement in safety as well as convenience,” Chairman Grady Hawkins said.
NCDOT District Engineer Lonnie Watson told the commissioners that when the agency’s engineers reviewed a traffic impact analysis, the architect’s proposed entrance and a driveway permit application, they came up with an alternative that solves many of the problems that the public, School Board members and Hyman Heights residents have raised.
“We recommended that signal at North Main and 25 and the pedestrian crossing be re-evaluated,” Watkins said. “That’s when we realized it would make more sense to shift the driveway directly across from North Main.”
The change brings several benefits that improve safety and traffic flow, he said. Under the original plan, the driveway into the parking lot, which will be on the old Boyd car dealership property, was at Ninth Avenue, which does not line up with North Main. That would have required a right turn in, right turn out only pattern. Northbound traffic on U.S. 25  would not have been able to turn left into the parking lot. As a result, the pattern would have forced cars to circle the campus on three sides — Bearcat Boulevard, Oakland Street and Asheville Highway — to reach the entrance.
The new pattern would have a signalized left turn lane into the parking lot from U.S. 25, a 12-foot right turn lane into the entrance and improved crosswalk signals.
“We’re able to control the movement much better, provide a signalized access to the school, not just a right in and right out (and) coordinate the pedestrian traffic with vehicular traffic,” Watkins said. The change will also mean less delay at the intersection. He said the new pattern could have eliminated the need for a right turn lane on Oakland Street at Asheville Highway but architect Maggie Carnevale of PFA Architects said the firm wants to keep that option in the plans.
The updated site plan also shows a student drop-off area accessible from the parking lot, parking for three buses in a pull-off from Oakland Street and an emergency gate into the parking lot north of the public entrance.
The Hendersonville City Council approved the rezoning for the project with the understanding that the traffic changes were in the works. The plan goes next to the School Board.
“If it meets with your approval then we will hand it off to them for their approval,” John Mitchell, the county’s director of business and community development, told commissioners.