The era of interminable waits and risky maneuvers at the intersection of Old Kings Road and Town Center Boulevard is almost over. Palm Coast is about to install a traffic signal there.
The $154,000 project will include some new landscaping and will result in the closure of the makeshift parking area for people who use the Lehigh Trail. The zone must be closed to make the new arrangement safer. “Nothing about it is right today,” City Manager Jim Landon said of that zone. That parking zone will be moved to the Northeast corner of the Old Kings Road bridge. The project will start at the beginning of July and should be done by September.
The intersection will not be widened yet, however: that’s a future project, making this summer’s construction a temporary fix. So don’t expect turning lanes for now. Rather, northbound traffic making a left turn onto Town center Boulevard, for example, will get a left-turn phase arrow.
The intersection sees at least 7,800 vehicles a day (the figure is somewhat outdated, city officials say: it’s higher now). The intersection has seen 10 t-bone crashes between 2012 and 2015. It opened roughly 10 years ago. Most of those crashes were the result of impatient drivers who misjudge the gap between oncoming cars, and jut out, hoping to make it.
The intersection will be realigned to the south, when Old Kings Road is four-laned, and Town Center Boulevard shifts a bit south.
The traffic signal’s timing will be “variable” for much of the day, with flashing arrows that won’t require traffic necessarily to stop entirely, if traffic is light. But signals will be “fixed” during rush hours.
Council member Bill McGuire was curious about the cost of having a law enforcement officer assigned there to direct traffic, despite the traffic signalization. But cops do that only on certain occasions (funerals, or when a traffic signal fails).
The council is expected to approve the project at its meeting next week.