Bob, I was alerted to an article in the Pilot today regarding potentially increasing the speed limit on Morganton Rd from Monticello to the cart crossing. I sent the following email to Jeff Sanborn, our town manager this morning. Could you post this to the Doral Dispatch as both an alert to others who want to respond and to the fact this is at least one opposing statement to the change. Thanks, Bert
Jeff, a resident of Doral Woods just called to alert me to an article in The Pilot regarding consideration of raising the speed limit on Morganton Rd to 45 mph from Monticello to near the golf cart crossing on Pinehurst #1. I wish I had known this at the time of the NAC meeting yesterday, I would have supplied the following (if it’s not too late) as to why this is not a good idea.
First, I must acknowledge that many already achieve that speed in spite of the current 35 MPH limit. It is a straight away and tempting to the young and out of towners on their way to the resort.
Having said that, let me first address the entrance/exit for Doral Woods. We have school bus traffic in the morning and afternoon trying to enter and exit Doral Woods. Merging across or into Morganton Rd with traffic at 45 (or more, if the limit is increased) will be more harrowing and honestly, delay the buses as they will want to make sure there is sufficient time and space to safely make their turns. In addition, there is a fair amount of cross over traffic there. Residents using their golf carts to play Pinehurst Resort 1-7 cross over to gain access to the cart paths on the resort property (note: the golf cart crossing just down the road is 15 MPH for safety reasons). Also,the Resort equipment crosses there to work the Course #1. This is especially low speed equipment (mowers, tractors, work vehicles) and the dash across a higher speed road will be more harrowing for them.(once again, where they cross down the road at the maintenance shed is 15 mph). Coming west bound and trying to turn into Doral Woods will be more difficult. There is a rise in the road here which limits line of sight to oncoming traffic. It is already necessary to carefully decelerate from 35 to carefully access the oncoming traffic flow to attempt to turn in. A higher speed oncoming flow of traffic will cause more cautiousness and will likely slow down the west bound flow as turners will decelerate earlier, anticipating that they will need to stop in order to safely enter.
Next, let me address the existing cart crossing on Morganton Rd. Going west bound, it will mean a deceleration from 45 to 15. This will require significant braking, rather than just letting off the gas. My educated guess is that the safer 15 mph for that area will not nearly be achieved, in general. This will make an already dangerous crossing, even more so.
The speed limit change will cause confusion with motorists as to “what is the limit where I am”. Like Rte 5 going towards Aberdeen, the changes (35/55/45/35) lead to “lumpy” traffic flow as some will not readily know what the legal limit is and “pick one” that suits their mood. Most likely, the locals will not speed up knowing what lies ahead in terms of dangerous crossings and required deceleration, leaving the young and out-of-towners even more impatient.
Lastly, our mayor has said at numerous NAC meetings that “no one will get a ticket for exceeding the speed limit by only 5 mph”. If the police have been told this, that makes the new limit 50. That’s close to divided highways with limited access.
I’m not sure what the motivation for the speed limit change is, but the “good” (traveling this half mile stretch 15 -20 seconds faster, at best) can’t be greater than the safer alternative of leaving the speed limit alone.