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Village Council boots new park entrance

Crowds at the Park at Flat Rock sometimes overflow the parking lot. Residents of Highland Golf Villas have asked the Village Council to build a new entrance to divert traffic from their road. Crowds at the Park at Flat Rock sometimes overflow the parking lot. Residents of Highland Golf Villas have asked the Village Council to build a new entrance to divert traffic from their road.

FLAT ROCK — The Flat Rock Village Council has scrapped the idea of a new entrance to the Park at Flat Rock for now, agreeing to evaluate traffic patterns and sightlines when the NCDOT completes the Highland Lake Road project.


Again pushing for a retreat from numerous features of the road improvement project, council member Anne Coletta last week urged the council to eliminate the driveway cut from the DOT’s scope of work. The state had agreed to construct the driveway entrance as part of the $3.9 million improvement. A new council majority, however, has tried repeatedly to kill the project, saying they were elected by voters who oppose the job.
“In my mind it’s way too close to all the existing roads,” Coletta said of the proposed curb cut. “With all the traffic coming faster over the railroad tracks, since the grade is going to be eased, you’re going to have a lot of turning happening in a very, very small area. DOT has said putting in a curb cut is a relatively inexpensive proposition and it does not affect their work at all whether they do this or don’t do this.”
The turn lanes, smoothed out railroad tracks — which now slow traffic — and other factors will change traffic behavior in ways that are unknowable, she said.
“We don’t really know how it’s all going to play out until after it’s done, so to make a decision to put a curb cut in a location that we’re not sure is going to work seems like a little bit of a waste of money and a waste of time,” she said. “Once the project is done, once we see how the traffic patterns play out, (the council will have) a lot more up-to-date information than just kind of sticking in a curb cut here where we don’t know if it’s the right place, the appropriate place or the safest place. And frankly, we don’t have the financial resources at this point to build a new entrance as well.”
Sheryl Jamerson said she supported the curb cut as part of the NCDOT project “because it would be certainly cheaper and more convenient as opposed to doing the entire project, cleaning it up … and making a mess again.”
A drawing Coletta referred to, Jamerson added, showed the proposed driveway in the wrong place. “This has been engineered, discussed and changed,” she said. But because the village will have to make cuts in its 2020-21 budget “I can’t say I want to do this right now. For me right now, the concern is giving our word, making a commitment and having our residents at Highland Golf Drive be able to rely on what we said we would do.”
Tom Carpenter said after the roadwork is done, the village should “evaluate the new lines of sight, the new traffic patterns, the speed etc. and then reevaluate, which will probably be about 3, 3½ years from now.”
The council voted unanimously to delay the curb cut for now but to commit to revisiting the idea when the road project is done and when the village has the money to build a new entrance.