Gulf Shores Public Works Director Mark Acreman said alternatives for eliminating a 90-degree bottleneck at Canal Road and East Second Street will soon be narrowed down to three.
Residents voiced opinions during a May 7 meeting on how best to reroute traffic through or around the neighborhood in the southeast corner of that intersection. There are five residential streets and Meyer Park included in the area affected by the rerouting.
“We’ll find out what were their top three picks and go back and maybe do a follow-up meeting just to try to streamline that,” Acreman said. “Right now, we just had some lines on a drawing, but Volkert is exploring what types of right-of-ways might be needed and what type of impact we may have based on the three alignments. Then we start weighing out the pros and cons of each one of those.”
There are also several businesses and restaurants in the immediate area and it is across from the Waterway Village District, which the city is trying to develop as a pedestrian-friendly area. Traffic coming through the 90-degree turn limits foot traffic between the two areas.
Two of the most favored routes used 10th Street East down to 22nd Avenue East, continuing west on 22nd before making a dip through undeveloped city property to connect with Dolphin Avenue. There is already a four-way intersection with traffic signals there just one block east of State Route 59 and the Intracoastal Waterway bridge.
A second option also uses 10th Street, but goes south through 22nd Avenue and onto Gulf State Park property, looping westward to connect with Dolphin Avenue.
Big Beach Brewing Company is one block south of the 90-degree turn and General Manager Ryan Shamburger said he favors moving that traffic flow to the southern part of the neighborhood.
“The new bridge will temporarily reduce traffic through our ‘canal road corridor’ because vehicles destined for Orange Beach will not be using the current 59 bridge,” Shamburger said. “The near-future projection for traffic through the ‘corridor’ will eventually increase by 50 percent as land development increases north of the new bridge. Because of that, we are in favor of the two routes that take the corridor traffic down 10th and around the south side of the neighborhood.”
Gulf Shores has recently studied a route through the state park to eliminate the turn, but abandoned the plan due to several factors, including difficulty securing the permitting.
“We don’t know yet how feasible that one is,” Acreman said. “From an impact standpoint it minimizes the community impacts, but it impacts the state park. When you impact some type of public park it really changes the complexity of one of these types of projects. There’s a lot more permitting and a lot more hoops to go through if the park is even receptive.
“We’re just trying to make sure whatever ideas we start to fine tune they’re what the community’s wanting and what the community thinks will be the least impactful and balance that out with what can we actually build and permit.”
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