NC 211

Pinehurst is worried about the number of possible businesses that could go in along N.C. 211 west of the village. Much of that land is in Moore County's zoning jurisdiction, and the county allows a lot more to be built along the highway than the village would.

State transportation officials will conduct a traffic study to determine whether the speed limit should be lowered to 45 mph on N.C. 211 in Pinehurst.

The Village Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday afternoon asking the N.C. Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit from Rattlesnake Trail to the corporate limit sign just west of the intersection with Main Street in Taylortown. The speed limit is currently 45 mph from Rattlesnake to the Traffic Circle.

“Our traffic engineers will look at the data to see if it meets our requirements,” said Brandon Jones, division engineer with the Eighth Division office in Aberdeen.

Jones said one of the main factors the DOT uses in setting speed limits is something called “85th percentile speed.” That is the speed at or below which 85 percent of people drive at any given location under normal conditions and may be considered as the maximum safe rate for that location, according to federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

The federal code recommends using the 85th percentile as “guidance” in establishing speed limits. Other factors could include road characteristics, development along the road, pedestrian activity and vehicle accidents. DOT will also look at traffic counts.

Jones said it typically takes about four to six weeks to complete the study and make a decision.

Council members citied safety concerns with the current 55 mph speed limit on the 1.5-mile stretch of highway.

“When you have a sidewalk, you should not have a 55 mph speed limit,” Mayor Nancy Fiorillo said during the meeting.

Fiorillo said Pat Molamphy, a Pinehurst resident who serves on the state transportation board, suggested the council pass a resolution requesting the reduction in the speed limit.

“Any time a municipality has a concern, we take it to heart,” Molamphy said late Thursday afternoon in a brief telephone interview. “They (DOT engineers) don’t usually do this unless a municipality requests it.”

The speed limit was increased to 55 mph starting at Rattlesnake Trail once the highway widening from the Traffic Circle to West End was completed in June 2014. It had been 45 mph previously.

Molamphy said traffic has increased with the opening of the Harris Teeter shopping center just west of the N.C. 5 intersection.

“It has created a lot more congestion in that area,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem John Cashion, who serves as the village’s transportation liaison, said Pinehurst has received numerous complaints from residents about safety on that stretch of highway, with vehicles coming down the hill from Rattlesnake at a high rate of speed heading west and then up a hill approaching the traffic signal at N.C. 5 at Olmsted Village. He said with the recent opening of the new Harris Teeter shopping center, more vehicles are turning onto N.C . 211 at Main Street.

The village corporate limit sign is near the intersection of Westgate Drive across from Premier Lighting.

“We need to slow down traffic coming around that curve to stop light at Main Street,” Cashion said. “You’ve got more traffic coming out at that intersection.”

He said many Pinewild Country Club residents wanted the speed reduced to 45 mph all the way out to the main entrance across from Pinehurst Baptist Church. He said it can be difficult at times for people turning onto the highway, especially making left turns across two lanes of on-coming traffic.

Cashion agreed with Fiorillo about the safety of people walking on the sidewalks on both sides of the four-lane highway, with cars going by at 55 mph to 60 mph, “which isn’t a good thing.”

Also during the meeting, council members supported the idea of forming a task force with Southern Pines and Aberdeen to investigate the possibility of establishing a Southern Moore County YMCA.

“Maybe it is pie in the sky,” Fiorillo said “To me it is worth looking into. Maybe nothing will come of it.”

Fiorillo initially raised the idea of a YMCA last month after a study team presented a report on building a $3.3 million to $3.8 million community center behind Village Hall to meet the space needs of its growing parks and recreation programs. She said “it would be foolish” not to at least explore the idea before spending “millions of dollars” on the village building its own community center.

Fiorillo said Southern Pines and Aberdeen have expressed a willingness to appoint members to a task force and that several people have already volunteered to serve. She added that she also spoke with Nick Picerno, chairman of the Moore County Board of Commissioners, who told her that while the county would not be in a position to provide any funding, it would look into possible land it owns in this part of the county for a YMCA.

She said in a brief interview after the meeting that she has spoken with the national organization and was told a nearby YMCA must sponsor a local club. She said the closest one to Moore County is in Sanford.

Fiorillo said the main attraction for a YMCA would be a swimming pool, “which is the most expensive part.” She said it would not be feasible for one town to do it alone.

She said a small task force of possibly six members could be formed to look into what it would take to build a YMCA in southern Moore County and for it to be successful financially.

“You want it to be self-sustaining,” she said. “Let’s investigate. Would we be in over our heads, or is this something we could do?”

In March 2012, a group from Moore County met with Fayetteville-based YMCA of the Sandhills officials to discuss the feasibility of building a Y in Moore County. A possible site in the Morganton Park North development in Southern Pines received approval from the YMCA, and the Van Camp family, which owns the land.

The local group initially hoped to build a 45,000 to 60,000 square-foot facility on a 10-acre site in the development off Morganton Road. A committee was formed to raise the $1 million needed for a charter, and the group had hoped to start raising money to build the facility once the land around it began developing and the infrastructure was in place. It was looking at the need to raise about $11 million.

But nothing has happened with that effort since early 2013.

In other village business last Tuesday, the council voted unanimously to rezone 9.6 acres of land on Dundee Road in front of Scared Heart Catholic to a conditional district to allow a parking lot with 29 spaces. Church members already park in that area on Sundays.

Church leaders said the new lot will be designated for elderly members who have difficulty walking who may not have handicapped permits. They told the council that making it a handicapped lot would have required installing 8-foot signs and striping for every spot.

The church will have to come back with a detailed site plan, which requires only staff approval, before the parking lot can be built. Representatives said the landscaping will exceed the village requirements.

Two people spoke against, saying it would be unsightly and harm the surrounding area.

The Planning and Zoning Board recommended that the council approve the rezoning.

(27) comments

Ce Foote

Heading south on 15/501 toward Aberdeen from the circle to the entrance of #7 the speed limit should increase to 55 mph....NO SIDEWALKS! The improvements to 211 were uncalled for.... repaving 3 lanes would have been enough, 1 each direction and a turning lane would have kept businesses happy.

Changing a 2 mile stretch of highway from 55mph to 45 mph would increase the time to travel that 2 mile stretch by an additional 30 seconds. Its amazing the amount of complaining and hyperbole that goes regarding something so trivial that will very likely save lives and will cost the taxpayers next to nothing.

Richard Wright

Then change the speed limit to 35 so that someone might decide to use the expensive sidewalks paid for by the state and VOP. The real problem remains the traffic circle where there are 400 or so reported accidents a year, where rude drivers make the right off 211 on Midland, then do a u-turn in front of #7 and where some freeze for minutes waiting for an opening wide enough to get a small military convoy past.

Bart Boudreaux

suppersready - I don't mind questioning but your whining is childish. Enjoy Fayetteville

Bart Boudreaux

I think suppersready should move out of this area. maybe youd be happier in fayettville. and hurry please

Chris Williams

Born and raised here, fyi. If you have an issue with a lifelong resident who is heavily invested in his home town being concerned with the leadership making rash, uninformed decisions based on the whim of a very small few that impacts all of us, maybe you should move. Please read 99% of the posts on this story and you will find that they agree with me on the points I have made on this story. Maybe you should consider moving somewhere where you cannot question your local government if you are so happy following them in lock step.

Bryan Montgomery

That's funny "Rash, Uniformed decisions" like lowering the speed limit 10 mph in city limits is incredibly oppressive. You would be hard pressed to find any other 55 mph zones in the city limits of PH or SP other than the expressway section of US1.
Why is it such a drama if the city wants to create some safety? Does your one less minute of commute time trump over all other concerns? I guess it is just drama. I've certainly fell for it. I promise no more. Cheers.

Richard Wright

VOP is not a city. Snd remember, the Village knew what the speed limit would be and still contributed several hundred thousand dollars to build sidewalks less than five feet from 211.

Chris Williams

To be honest I am less concerned with the actual issue of lowering the limit here, but more upset and saddened to see yet another snap to action by the Council and Mayor on the basis of what they always refer to as "numerous complaints". There needs to be more transparency on their part about these matters. It is one thing to take action due to a petition with a valid, large number of people backing it, but these always seem to be a small handful of complainers, usually from the more well to do neighborhoods in the Village, who cause the Council to spring into action with little to no other information, data, or consideration behind their actions. It is a serious problem and it needs to be addressed.

Conrad Meyer

suppersready - you are right on the mark on this one. Don't pay any attention to those that disagree.

The real issue here is how the amateur council and mayor are making decisions based on whining - and not facts.

I tell you what. In the interest of safety, let Pinehurst reduce the speed limit to 25 mph on EVERY street in the village. And also put a stop sign at EVERY intersection. This will be the safest, correct? Then let's see how the amateurs respond to the backlash.

The real world makes decisions based on data and established protocols. Apparently, the amateurs know more than the professionals simply because they drive a vehicle.

Makes me laugh out loud.

I guess any excuse to hate on Pinehurst is a good one. (don't live there) This is a good idea regardless of where it came from.

I've thought they should lower it since they opened up the 4 lane. It is unsafe and any time savings is negligible. Someone is going to get killed on that stretch, its just a matter of time. As it is now many run 60 or higher. If the limit is 45, many/most will run 50 or higher. I say do it.

Lets get real Stevens

Why doesn't Pinehurst just build a road that goes up and around and/or over the entire village so no one has to drive through or on their precious roads? They could also consider a bubble.
Oh wait, I live in Pinehurst.
Let's hope the State doesn't give into their pettiness and change the speed limit. This is just way out of hand.

David Hensley

Maybe they could put some stop signs up for good measure.

And good God, they are still talking about funding a recreation center? Hello, we have a RESORT and there are lots of parks in the area. My guess is if you subtract our members of Pinehurst, there are more parks/recreational facilities per capita than most other areas.

When will the Pinehurst council stop listening to activist vocal minorities and learn to say "No"????

Bryan Montgomery

Maybe since Pinehurst is one of the safest and most desirable towns in NC to live in "they" are doing things right. I see more houses going up. Ready for the volly...

Chris Williams

Good lord people, lay off the lowering of every speed limit in the Village. Once again it would be nice if the Pilot did some reporting and gave us the ACTUAL number of complaints instead of the usual village line of "numerous complaints". This mayor and council have an obsession with speed limits and as we well know there are way too many residents who seem to be terrified of going normal speeds. Call me crazy but I trust the NCDOT much more than our council of reactionary people who bend to every whim of a small number of whiners. Unreal.

Staff
David Sinclair

I specifically asked John Cashion how many complaints the council has received and quoted his response. As far as I know, there are no documented complaints in writing on file anywhere that show the "actual" number. It appears to be a case of council members responding to complaints they hear from residents. If we ever get an actual number, we will report it.

Richard Allenbaugh

David, A great question. Taxpayers $ spent to make major road upgrades and the Village wants to revert back to slow speeds. There are more things to worry about than this in Pinehurst.

Bryan Montgomery

I drive on this road often. There are three stop lights in this stretch of road (1.25 miles). People fly through this section to try and jockey themselves for the next light. High speed is not needed in this area. If you post 55 this means 65 for many. The road was widened to accommodate traffic volume not to create a freeway through Pinehurst. This is this what the money was spent for. Again we are talking about basically a mile long section of road with stop lights! Safety is always a thing to worry about.

Richard Wright

Abo e Grund pools and multi-million dollar recreation centers being two.

Chris Williams

Thanks for the reply David! It would be really nice to find out exactly how many of these complaints are lodged in Pinehurst, as many of us residents are getting very tired of this type of action by the Council on the basis of "numerous complaints" that are never disclosed by the Mayor or the Council.

Chris Smithson

You have to give a nod to Pinehurst's frugality. They are saving a lot of money that most other municipalities would spend doing traffic and safety studies.

Good point.

Conrad Meyer

Here we go again.

Amateur traffic engineer alert!

Monticello wasn't enough - now over reaching to NC 2111 - designed for 55 mph.

This will be interesting. I wonder when they will get off the emotions and use some data!

I am so glad I don't live in whiny Pinehurst.

Bryan Montgomery

Lenny Bo what are the benefits of keeping the speed limit at 55mph for this 1.25 miles of road?

Conrad Meyer

Good point BryanM, but I'll up the ante a bit.

What are the benefits of spending $31 million of taxpayer funds to widen NC 211 from West End to the traffic circle? Personally, I liked the old 211 better.

I also learned from the Monticello fiasco, that apparently, Pinehurst did have a traffic engineer, but they cut the position so the amateurs could take over and save a little money.

John Beard

You obviously enjoyed driving at a snail's pace getting from West End to Pinehurst.

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