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Coligny Park Revitalization Project Hones In On Crosswalk Improvements

Coligny Park Revitalization Project Hones In On Crosswalk Improvements

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Lowcountry beach traffic is named a 'monstrosity' by some bicyclists and pedestrians in Hilton Head Island, particularly in the Coligny Park area. Now, after years of talks of revitalizing the property there the town owns, a planning commission took input on how to alleviate congestion in the busy section by changing crosswalks and intersections. 

From the crosswalks near the traffic circle by Coligny Plaza, up Pope Avenue to as far as the gates of Sea Pines, residents are suggesting the town install a new crosswalk system. The High-intensity Activated crossWalK (HAWK) system would give pedestrians a signal by which to cross. 

"It's a lot of congestion with the bicycle riding, and the people jogging. There's just a lot of confusion down there," says Ronald Hollis, a bicyclist visiting Hilton Head from Delaware. 

"Then when you get to the circle, it's a lot confusion as you veer around the circle," Hollis explains. 

The crowded sidewalks and busy streets are no mix, to Hollis. He feels there should be a safer way for those on bike and foot to cross through the heavy traffic that the tourism season brings in.

"It's far too much congestion for the amount of population that you have here," he says.

The more the crowd, the less he feels safe. However, the town is on a mission to clear some of the congestion throughout Coligny Park. A planning commission is taking public input on how to change the area for the better. In town hall meetings so far, they decided the top priority is to free up some of the roadways while making them less dangerous. 

Peter Ovens is one resident who attended the meetings, to suggest the HAWK system for alleviating some of the problem at intersections spanning from Coligny Plaza to Sea Pines. His idea for the HAWK came from its use in Columbia, S.C. 

"What it does is control the traffic, as we have hundreds of people crossing the intersection. It will solve the problem without doing an over pass and that sort of thing," Ovens says. 

The system will coordinate traffic routes with groups of pedestrians waiting to cross.

"They're held back from traffic until they have accumulated, and then they cross with the light," he says. it's an alternative to the constant stream of folks which now flows there. 

"People dribble across the highway just two or three at a time for ten minutes, and the traffic has to wait for them. So, you have 15 to 20 people lined up in their cars waiting to go. They're just kindly letting the pedestrians go first. This system will solve that problem," Ovens says. 

According to Terry Ennis with the planning commission, the traffic flow improvements were all submitted to the consultant hired. Now, the consultant will draft a plan to present at a public input meeting to be scheduled. 

Meanwhile Ovens and Hollis hope some adjustments can be made sooner rather than later. 

"I think it would be a much more beautiful place to be," Hollis says. 


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