Lawless proposes shift to one-way traffic for Woodland Avenue
Ocean View Town Councilman Bob Lawless this week discussed the idea of converting Woodland Avenue, from the intersection of Atlantic and Woodland Avenues south to the intersection of Woodland and Central Avenues and east of Ventral and West Avenues, into a one-way street.
“It’s been suggested that my head be examined,” said Lawless of his agenda item for the town council’s Nov. 8 meeting. “The genesis of the whole one-way-street thought was, in the public hearings that we had when the sidewalk issue was discussed about Woodland Avenue, I can recall sitting here and listen to my community express their concern and anxiety that riding a bicycle on Woodland Avenue was extraordinarily dangerous.”
Lawless said that the town does not have the financial means to buy the property required to widen the street, which could potentially help with the traffic issues.
“This is throwing the hand grenade into the punch bowl, and that’s purposeful,” he said of the proposal. “I think it’s important that people have their ideas on this subject… this is one thought.”
Gabriela Evans, who represented the Café on 26 at Tuesday’s meeting, voiced her opposition to the proposal.
“We only have one entrance – off of Woodland Avenue – to our business, and it’s already, as lot of people know, it’s tight in there. Making it a one-way would take away even more of our business.”
Resident Richard Wright said he was opposed to the idea of making Woodland a one-way street and asked the council to consider the possibility that the change would impact other neighboring communities’ traffic. He also suggested that the council speak with the school district and trash companies about the possible effects such a change could have.
“What is that going to do to their routes?” he asked.
Resident Jim Barnes stated that, although he feels something needs to be done regarding safety on Woodland, he doesn’t believe making the street one-way would be a viable solution.
“I, for one, feel there needs to be a solution. It’s still dangerous. It’s dangerous for my kids,” he said. “I think it’s going to cause more problems,” he added of the proposal. “I just feel there needs to be another solution, other than one-way, which is going to create another set of problems.”
Resident Linda Wisniewski suggested that the council cancel the planned sidewalk project and use the extra money and land to widen the road.
“You implied that there wasn’t funds for widening Woodland. Has it been in consideration to eliminate sidewalks and use that extra amount of land to widen the street?” she asked. “Wouldn’t you have the additional property if you eliminated the sidewalks? It just doesn’t make sense.”
Resident Patricia Ayres said that, although the council is trying to be mindful of traffic problems within town, a one-way street is not the solution.
“We appreciate your thoughts. We know your heart was in the right place, but I think it’s just going to impact our community and all the other streets around.”
Kathy Filip said that the community of Hunter’s Run was opposed to the one-way street concept, and she questioned how it would affect other roadways.
“We feel it’s just going to add to the congestion that’s already out there on 26,” she said.
“I think everything ought to be tabled until Route 26 is completed. Maybe that’ll ease some of the traffic going through,” suggested resident Jim Tanis.
Woodland Avenue resident George Young said that he was “most definitely opposed” to a one-way street.
“It’ll be a big problem for the people who live on Woodland Avenue.”
“I think the majority of the folks would prefer to not have this done,” added Wayne Breasure.
Resident Barbara Dolezal was the only resident who spoke in favor of turning Woodland into a one-way street, citing safety concerns.
“I’m going to be the fly in the ointment here. I think it’s a good idea to do the one-way. You yourself said a couple of months ago that traffic is going to become horrendous on Woodland Avenue in the future… I just think it’s a good idea because I think we’ll only have to worry about traffic coming from one direction.”
Councilmen Geoff Christ and Tom Sheeran noted that they had received numerous emails relating to the proposed one-way street, all of which were opposed to the idea.
The council did not vote on the issue this week, but Lawless thanked the public for voicing their opinions.
“I deeply appreciate all the time and thought spent on the issue. The underlying problem remains. Woodland Avenue is too narrow. The question of funding is enormous. I don’t see us ever having that kind of funding,” he said. “I’d like you to think about it. The problem will not go away. The problem is only going to get more difficult.”