Clemmons Elementary gets new traffic plan: Council consensus provides ‘Singular One-Way’ and behavioral changes as solution

Published 12:10 am Thursday, July 11, 2024

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CLEMMONS — After taking a step to improve traffic flow and safety along Lewisville-Clemmons Road in the spring at West Forsyth High School, the Clemmons Village Council is now moving forward with addressing a similar situation at Clemmons Elementary School with the start of another school year only about a month away.

Jonathan Guy, an engineer with Kimley-Horn, gave a school traffic update on operational recommendations at Clemmons Elementary, presenting a couple of options that might help — Singular One-Way and Split Directions.

Singular One-Way would create a one-way movement along James Street from Cook Avenue to Stoney Drive while Bingham Avenue would be one-way from James Street to Stadium Drive,

Split Directions would create two one-way movements along James Street — one from Cook Avenue to Bingham Avenue and one from Stoney Drive to Bus Driveway. Bingham would be one-way from James to Stadium with the bus lot moved to the front lot and pick-up moved to the bus lot.

After going through lots of details, including the importance of reducing stacking, Guy interacted with the council with the consensus of Singular One-Way being the better choice.

“That option gives you more longevity,” said Guy, adding that it would have a lower price tag, less physical disruption and a shorter time frame to implement. “It’s more adaptable for future changes and more resilient in how you can handle things without having investment.”

Council member Mike Combest then added what he thought should be another part of the plan.

“I would offer you never get to where we really want to be until we change behavior,” said Combest, who heard earlier that stacking at the school can occur 45 minutes, an hour and two hours early. “That generates hazards to drivers and pedestrians. It’s on us to get this right.”

Guy said that would come down to enforcement.

“It’s a very short window where you’ve got congestion of the actual picking up and departing, but yet we stack for two hours to build up to that,” he said.

Gunnell, who said there were positive overall results from the village’s new traffic plan at West Forsyth in the spring, added that this next step will hopefully just serve as a short-term solution to at least get the traffic off of Stadium Drive until getting more information.

“I know the school has supposedly retained a traffic engineer to look at what they possibly can do on site,” he said. “Right now, I don’t know the results on that. We’ve discussed this with them several times about making Bingham one way. I haven’t been successful in setting up a common date that we can both meet and look and see what they’re planning.”

Gunnell said he would talk to Principal Wendy Brewington and come back with a game plan.

The council ultimately decided by consensus to proceed with the Singular One-Way option at Clemmons Elementary along with exploring an education program on behavior.

As council member Mary Cameron concluded, “Everybody’s got to be part of the solution.”

Also in Monday night’s meeting, the council discussed taking a look at the existing zoning along Clemmons Road after the recent redevelopment project involving Retail Storage Services was permitted as a ‘use-by right’ within this zoning district without being required to hold a public hearing.

Council member Michelle Barson said that the project at the corner of U.S. 158 and Middlebrook Drive “that everyone has been upset about really highlighted something that we’d already been addressing as a council and had discussed at our retreat this past winter, which was the concept of overlay district zoning.”

Barson said with all the changes in growth, traffic and different businesses in this area that now is the time to look at overlay districts before the overall United Development Ordinances (UDO) update is put in place.

“This would go back to the same overlay district that we worked with the business owners on Lewisville-Clemmons Road,” said Mayor Mike Rogers. “The business owners would then form a group, and we would work with them to see their vision and to make the village remain as much of a village atmosphere as we can. We know change is going to happen. Growth is happening.”

Also in Monday night’s meeting, the council approved continuing a public hearing of a zoning map amendment for Abattoir Properties LLC for real property owned by Abattoir Properties LLC from RS-15 (Residential, Single Family) to PB-S (Pedestrian Business — Special) for properties addressed 7420 Fair Oaks Drive and 7452 Fair Oaks Drive located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Fair Oaks Drive and Harper Road, consisting of 2.188 acres (Zoning Docket SZMA-24-1) until the next council meeting on Monday, July 22, at 6 p.m.

Planner Doug Moore said that staff was requesting a continuance because of late changes to the site plan. Carl Carney gave a brief overview as a proponent. Meanwhile, Ken Reed, who lives close to a nearby lake, signed in as an opponent but stated he really wasn’t for or against while saying, “I have no doubt this will be approved and as far as that goes, it’s not a big deal other than stormwater.”

In other highlights from Monday night’s meeting, the council:

  • Heard from Manager Mike Gunnell on statements of work from LJB Engineering PC for three construction projects for culvert improvements at Springfield Drive (with a budget estimate of $51,000), Brookland Drive (with a budget estimate of $49,500) and North Lakeshore Drive (with a budget estimate of $46,000).
  • Heard about recent promotions from the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office for Clemmons personnel — Jody Chatman to lieutenant, Joe Snyder to sergeant, William Barmer to detective and Jeremiah Handy to corporal.
  • Heard from Shannon Ford, marketing and communications director, on the winter wonderland extravaganza with Christmas in July on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jerry Long Family YMCA featuring snow, ice skating on a rink, music, games and food trucks in addition to the first-ever Clemmons Farmers evening market.
  • Heard from Gary Ritz, who expressed concerns with traffic coming out of Lasater Road at the intersection of Harper Road and throughout the entire busy stretch from U.S. 158 to I-40, asking for the council to look at changes to improve traffic flow and safety.
  • Appointed Mayor Mike Rogers as the village’s representative to sign closing documents.
  • Heard a proclamation read by Rogers recognizing the weekend of July 27-28 as the 5th Annual Smiley Triathlon Festival Weekend in the Village of Clemmons.