YOUNGSVILLE -- A cut-through traffic option for motorists will close by the end of February.
During the board's Jan. 9 meeting, Police Chief Greg Whitley, among other traffic-calming suggestions, recommended that the town close Nassau Street to thru traffic at the intersection of N.C. 96.
The goal was to keep speeding and unwanted commuter traffic off the neighborhood street.
The decision was approved by unanimous decision, but, at the time, neither the board nor police specified when the action would take place.
Last week, the town announced that the temporary barriers and closure would take place at the end of February.
The announcement, though, was met by many on social media who feared that the closure would increase congestion on N.C. 96.
"I understand many motorists use South Nassau to avoid congestion at the signal on Cross and Main Streets, and that closure of South Nassau to through traffic may increase travel times for some," said Town Manager Phil Cordeiro.
"However, when elected officials and residents raise concerns of safety -- and direct action by town staff -- it's our responsibility to provide stakeholders with all options and allow them to make decisions about how to best manage our community's streets while ensuring its safety."
Whitley's recommendation came after several months of discussion about how to handle traffic flow and congestion, as well as concerns from residents about safety.
The police department increased patrols to gauge the situation and also surveyed residents along the street about options to fix traffic.
Residents along Nassau, Persimmon and Cross streets responded to a survey, expressing their favor for two plans:
• Placing a temporary blockade to shut off Nassau Street at N.C. 96;
• Installing right-turn only signs at the intersection of E. Persimmon and S. Cross streets.
The right-turn only signs would allow for a better flow of traffic onto S. Cross Street/N.C. 96.
The barricade eliminates S. Nassau Street as a cut-through for traffic trying to connect with N.C. 96 southeast of town; or motorists heading north, trying to skip by traffic that can congest along Main Street.
Police sent out a door-hanger survey to 30 residents who live along Nassau, Persimmon and S. Cross streets to gauge their thoughts on the proposals.
Ten responded, with all 10 being in favor of right-turn only signs at Persimmon and Cross streets.
Eight responded, favoring a barrier. Two were not in favor of the device.
"Police agencies are often faced with balancing quality of life issues against matters of public convenience, and there were significant considerations of both regarding this decision," Whitley said.
"Our agency will continue to work toward the best long-term solution that will benefit both our citizens and those traveling through town alike."
The barriers are temporary for a reason, officials and law enforcement said.
"I would like to stress... that we will continue to monitor traffic in the area and are open to modifying our plan at any time," Cordeiro said.
"As the barriers we'll use are only semi-permanent, we can always remove them in the future if the board decides it's in the community's best interests."
The town plans to enforce its closure of South Nassau no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28.
After the closure takes effect, officers are expected to increase patrols to ensure compliance and provide additional feedback to decision-makers.
"We're simply doing what we feel is best for community safety," said Mayor Fonzie Flowers.
"One of the great things about living in Youngsville is that our community isn't afraid to take action when we're faced with an issue.
"At the same time, we're also willing to continuously accept feedback from residents and alter our course if facts and circumstances indicate we need to.
"I encourage all town residents to provide feedback to town staff and the board of commissioners as this plan unfolds."
Feedback can be submitted to town officials by calling town hall at (919) 925-3401 or by e-mailing email@example.com.