South 3rd Street Traffic Lights
For the safety of our historic community, HWF supports the proposed addition of two new traffic lights on South 3rd Street. Many thanks to the downtown residents who petitioned for this improvement, and to the Wilmington City Council, who voted unanimously to apply for grant money to fund the project. This is such a wonderful example of grassroots advocacy that benefits and preserves our historic neighborhoods!
Based on traffic speed, volume, and crash data, NCDOT has endorsed the installation of two new traditional traffic lights (aka “red lights”), one at the intersection of S. 3rd and Ann and the other at the intersection of S. 3rd and Orange. (See excerpt from NCDOT’s memo.)
South 3rd Street is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross four lanes of traffic, and dangerous for vehicles turning onto S. 3rd from side streets. Accidents occur regularly, often resulting in the destruction of historic resources such as 19th century iron fences, granite walls, and NC Highway Historic Markers. The traffic signals endorsed by NCDOT will not only make the Wilmington Historic District more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, it will save lives. Sadly, NCDOT advises that there’s currently no funding source for the traffic signals and that Wilmington will have to compete for funding with other road spending needs statewide.
If Wilmington could demonstrate broad-based demand for these traffic signals, NCDOT will allocate the funds. To that end, the residents on S. 3rd, led by Denis McGarry, have posted a petition on Change.org. Click here to sign it! HWF will continue to advocate for both the Wilmington City Council and WMPO to express support for funding these much needed traffic signals.
Excerpt from NCDOT Memo
FROM: Jessi Leonard, PE Division Traffic Engineer
SUBJECT: Review of US 17 Business (3rd Street) In New Hanover County
Our Division Traffic unit met with several citizens on September 13, 2021, to discuss the route of US 17 Business (3rd Street) between Market Street and Castle Street. Based on the concerns received during that meeting, our unit worked with the NCDOT Regional Traffic unit and City of Wilmington Traffic Engineers to review several items along this section of 3rd Street. A follow up meeting was held January 11, 2022, to provide the updates to our findings, which have also been documented below.
Per request, traffic signal analyses were completed for the intersections along 3rd Street at Dock Street, Orange Street, Ann Street, Nun Street, and Church Street. These studies included evaluating traffic data for vehicles and pedestrians, existing site conditions, and crash history. For traffic signal warrant analyses, the Department references the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is a manual approved by the Federal Highway Administration as the National Standard. The purpose of the MUTCD is to ensure that traffic control devices are installed consistently throughout the country. Based on the findings, the Department is able to endorse the installation of a signal at the intersections along 3rd Street at Orange Street and Ann Street. Unfortunately, there is not currently a designated funding source for new signal installation; however, we will be developing estimates to be submitted by our Regional Traffic unit to compete statewide for safety funding. This will also be shared with other units in case a funding source is identified that these signal installations can be considered.