The Hilton Head Island Town Council is meeting on Tuesday, August 31 at 3:00 pm for “Review and Discussion of Preliminary Local Concepts and Key Project Enhancements for the William Hilton Parkway Gateway Corridor”. The meeting will be conducted virtually and can be viewed on the Town of Hilton Head Island Public Meetings Facebook Page.
Below is COIN’s Response to Latest MKSK 278 Project Preliminary Concepts:
After review of the slide deck of the MKSK Open House Presentation of Preliminary Local Concepts and Key Project Enhancements for the SCDOT 278 Corridor Project, COIN notes the following:
MKSK has developed some significant improvements to the SCDOT 278 Corridor plan including:
- Design of a meandering, landscaped roadway to create a traffic calming parkway.
- Separation of multi-use trails and sidewalks from roadway to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety along the sides of the roadway.
- Retaining eastbound left turn onto Squire Pope Rd and eliminating SCDOT’s U-turn and turn signal at Old Wild Horse Road.
- Using “smart technology” for all traffic signals.
However, there remain significant deficiencies with this modified design which require additional development:
- With 6 through lanes, the impact to the Stoney community is still a greatly increased right-of-way from 78 feet to 118 feet, a 51% increase. This impact on the Stoney community remains unacceptable.
- Additional turn lanes at Squire Pope Road and Spanish Wells/Wild Horse Road intersections are not acceptable and worsen safety issues for crossing cyclists and pedestrians.
- No overhead pedestrian and bicyclists crossings are considered even though the Stoney Initiative Area Plan includes that as a goal and a strategy.
- Addition of bridge aesthetics is a good beginning, but a 6-lane expressway and wide aircraft carrier-like structure is still unacceptable.
In addition, there has been no study of key components COIN previously identified which will provide a sound value analysis for this project:
- SCDOT’s flawed traffic model has not been replaced. Hilton Head Island population and traffic counts are currently different than SCDOT’s forecast which requires comprehensive revision of the traffic model.
- A 4-lane option has not been considered.
- Failure to include a Cross-Island Parkway connector when the toll-free road now exceeds forecasted volumes.
- No “Base Alternative” has been evaluated as the low-cost option (“Base Alternative” would replace single structurally deficient bridge, use smart technology at all traffic signals, increase safe access and pedestrian crossings, and add safe bicycle and pedestrian facilities).
- Failure to produce any end-to-end performance metrics and updated cost estimate. How can Town Council, County Council and the community evaluate the cost vs. benefits without data?
COIN calls for continuation of MKSK’s work to fix the remaining deficiencies of SCDOT’s plan and expansion of MKSK’s scope of work to include our key components. Once completed, there will be a suitable comparison of the alternatives to make the right decision on this once-in-a-generation infrastructure project.
Risa Sreden Prince and Patsy Brison
Co-founders of the Coalition of Island Neighbors