Rock Hill Ward 2

Solution coming for stalled traffic at Celanese, Mount Gallant intersection in Rock Hill

adouglas@heraldonline.comApril 9, 2013 

Frustrated drivers will soon see some relief at the intersection of Celanese and Mount Gallant roads – a junction where Rock Hill residents have asked for improvements for years, said City Councilwoman Kathy Pender. By 2014, she said, crews could be at work.

Construction of two additional turn lanes at the intersection should improve safety and stalled traffic, she said Tuesday at a community meeting with residents from the city’s Ward 2.

The meeting with Pender and Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols was the second in a series of six community meetings scheduled over the next few weeks. Pender’s Ward 2 includes most neighborhoods off Ebinport Road and many neighborhoods close to Celanese Road and Cherry Road, including Oakwood Acres and the Hargett Park area.

Besides the problems at the Mount Gallant and Celanese intersection, some residents voiced concerns Tuesday about a new “no right turn on red” sign at the traffic light at the intersection of Cherry and Ebinport roads, near Cherry Park. Ebinport Road motorists sometimes wait for as long as two minutes for the light to turn green and allow a right-hand turn onto Cherry Road, residents say.

The new sign is in place for the safety of children walking to and from Sullivan Middle School, officials said Tuesday.

The state Department of Transportation put up the sign. City officials say they have little power over the decision because the state, not Rock Hill, maintains Cherry Road.

Many residents would like to see the no-right-turn rule enforced only during school hours, they said, because sometimes there’s no pedestrian traffic to wait for. Even during school hours, drivers are waiting at the light, but no one is walking in the area, said resident Pete Malone.

“I’ve never seen more than three squirrels and a piece of paper roll through there,” he said.

He and his wife, Carol, said the new sign has basically turned the intersection a parking lot.

Enforcing a no-right-turn rule during select hours, officials said, would create confusion and offer less protection for pedestrians.

Pender offered to set up a meeting with city officials and state DOT employees to discuss the issue and other road problems in Rock Hill.

Among other traffic issues discussed Tuesday, neighbors said congestion at the Mount Gallant, Riverview and Riverchase intersections with Celanese Road means drivers use residential streets in the Bristol Park neighborhood as cut-throughs.

Neighbors have started parking their cars in the street in an effort to slow down speeders, one Bristol Park resident said.

Residents of Oakwood Acres – a neighborhood on the opposite side of Celanese Road from Bristol Park – have said a proposed plan for a McDonald’s at the intersection would worsen cut-through traffic there.

Improvements are on the way for Celanese Road, Pender said, with the goal of not letting the highway become the next Independence Boulevard – a freeway running through the city of Charlotte’s core. A fix “will happen,” she said. “Just a lot slower than we all anticipate.”

Cherry Road will “stay on the table” of City Council discussions, Pender said, as Rock Hill forms a “revitalization strategy” for the thoroughfare and its neighborhoods.

As other parts of the city – such as downtown, Dave Lyle Boulevard and Rock Hill’s business parks – prosper, Pender said, Cherry Road needs attention, too.

“I want to see that (Cherry Road) is in the pot simmering,” she said.

Executing the city and Winthrop University’s “college town action plan” is part of the strategy, she said, including burying remaining utility lines on Cherry Road.

The city has buried utility lines on the northern section of the road.

The next neighborhood meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Fewell Park Recreation Center meeting room, 1204 Alexander Road. Councilman Jim Reno and Echols will attend the Ward 6 meeting. Meetings are held within each council member’s ward, but anyone may attend.

Anna Douglas •  803-329-4068

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