06 May Boundary Street Redevelopment: Rumors & Facts
Rumor: Beaufort Police are writing too many traffic tickets on Boundary Street.
- Speeding is against the law. Speeding also creates a danger to men and women working on the construction job – husbands and wives, fathers and mothers of people in this community. Enforcing the speed limit is an effort to protect these people doing their jobs.
- The speed limit and work zone restrictions are heavily promoted so no one should be surprised – there are multiple signs announcing the work zone and 35 mph speed limit.
- Federal and state money are involved in the Boundary Street project, yet another reason for the City of Beaufort to adhere to traffic laws
Rumor: City police are writing traffic tickets because it’s a big-time moneymaker for the City of Beaufort.
- The state takes 60 percent of the traffic fees; the City doesn’t keep all the money.
- Beaufort’s Police Department and Court have agreed to keep the fines in most cases at the minimum level of $185.63 vs. the legal limit of $445.
- Since January 1, 2016 the City has issued 123 Speeding in the Work Zone tickets in the Boundary Street project area; 101 warning tickets were issued; and there have been 81 traffic collisions
- Data from two weeks in April show that 51 percent of vehicles in the Boundary Street Work Zone were traveling faster than 40 mph – where the speed limit is 35 mph.
- Consider: The Boundary Street Work Zone sees about 38,000 vehicles per day, which translates to more than 4 million vehicles using Boundary Street since January 1, 2016. In that time, the City issued just 616 tickets for all traffic violations – out of more than 4 million vehicles. That equals 0.0003 percent – obviously the City isn’t issuing traffic tickets to make money.
- In March, there were 22 work zone speeding tickets processed in the court. The total revenue to the City for the month on those tickets was only $1,775 and for the state was $2,568.
- Police enforcing traffic laws on Boundary Street is about improving safety, not about increasing revenue.
Rumor: Beaufort city taxpayers are footing the entire cost of the Boundary Street construction project.
Fact: The burden isn’t on the City taxpayer. The Boundary Street construction is funded through three sources:
- A Federal Highway Administration competitive grant of $12.635 million
- The Beaufort County one cent sales tax of $11.346 million
- And the City of Beaufort’s TIF II estimated contribution of about $8.223 million. The TIF money comes from taxes raised in a specific geographic area, which are earmarked to improve that specific area.
Rumor: The City of Beaufort is doing the Boundary Street project without community input.
Fact: In 2005 the City of Beaufort and Beaufort County, along with the town planning firm of Dover, Kohl & Partners, worked together to create a plan for the redevelopment of the Boundary Street corridor. An open planning process identified the ideas, needs and concerns of the community. More than 300 interested residents and stakeholders participated in the Boundary Street planning process, including property owners, neighbors, business people, developers, elected officials, appointed officials, City and County staff, and community leaders.
Rumor: The new Boundary Street will be only two lanes, one in each direction
Fact: When completed, Boundary Street will have four lanes, two in each direction – just as it did before construction.
Rumor: The new Boundary Street will have traffic circles at Ribaut Road and Robert Smalls Parkway
Fact: There aren’t any traffic circles included in the project. Period.
Rumor: There’s no need for the new Boundary Street design.
Fact: The project is 20 percent complete as of May 1, 2016. We expect the project be done on time and within budget. The completed project will be an improvement to the county road system and to the entrance to our historic city. Key improvements include:
- Improved traffic flow through the use of “smart” computerized traffic controls
- Improved intersections and traffic signals, including one at Carolina Cove
- Moving overhead utilities underground will improve the appearance but also make these utilities more storm-resistant
- Better stormwater management and improved water quality
- ‘Complete streets’ will enhance movement of every mode of transport
- This is a joint effort with joint funding.