Lakeview Drive barricades removed

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

AHOSKIE – The recent All-Star softball tournament held here at the Ahoskie Creek ballparks was hailed as a major success, except for one hiccup.

Town officials say that those attending the five-day event became frustrated when they could see the ballfields as they entered the Ahoskie Creek Park, but found their path blocked to the parking areas set up off Lakeview Drive.

The culprit blocking that access were barricades erected years ago by the town on the northern edge of Lakeview Drive.

“We realize that the barricades were placed there some time ago to deter excessive speeding in this area near the park, which is certainly a good reason to have those barricades,” said Town Manager Leigh Etheridge when discussing the issue with the Ahoskie Town Council at their regularly scheduled meeting on July 11. “However, looking at it logistically today, there are concerns from a first responder standpoint as far as reaching someone in need when precious seconds count.”

Etheridge added that she realized there are residents along that northern edge of Lakeview Drive who may not want to see the barricades removed. However, the town manager came armed with a solution to that problem.

“To mitigate excessive speeding if the barricades are removed, I recommend installing a highly sloped speed bump there, which would require motorists to slow down,” Etheridge suggested.

Councilman Charles Reynolds asked if the speed bump, if approved, would be made of asphalt or one of the rubberized devices currently used in other parts of town.

“The reason I’m asking is that some of the rubber ones we now have are coming apart; we need something that’s sturdy,” Reynolds noted.

“We would definitely want to use something that is substantial, so we could take a look at asphalt or concrete if that’s what the board decides,” Etheridge said.

Ahoskie Public Works Director Stephen Lassiter said the asphalt/concrete will work, but he has noted a better quality rubberized speed bump with the last ones he ordered to place elsewhere in town.

“They seem to be working very well, much better than the ones we put down a while ago,” Lassiter remarked.

Lassiter added that he had one of the higher quality rubber speed bumps left over from a recent order.

“I’ll use whatever ya’ll tell me to put there,” Lassiter said.

Councilman David Hunt inquired about the gate that’s in place at the end of Camlin Street, which is another type of barricade facing those attempting to access the Ahoskie Creek Recreational Complex.

“Presently we are asking to remove the barricade on Lakeview Drive, but we can certainly look at opening that gate as well,” Etheridge said.

Reynolds said the original plan for that gate was to open and close it at certain times. Lassiter said that gate was left open to help with the traffic accessing the ballparks during the All-Star tournament. It was closed upon completion of that event.

“I’m all for this plan to remove the barricades on Lakeview Drive and to use the rubber one, if it’s substantial to handle the traffic there, during this budget year and then look at a concrete one next budget year,” Hunt stated.

“We can try that one that Stephen said we had left to see if it works,” suggested Councilman Roy Sharpe.

Ahoskie Fire Chief Michael Bradley said he would favor a rubber speed bump.

“They are a little bit softer than concrete when crossing them with our fire trucks,” Bradley noted. “Plus this is in a residential area where vehicles are not supposed to be traveling that fast, so this shouldn’t be a problem and it shouldn’t slow our response time to a call.”

He added with the barricade now in place, it does cut off access to a secondary water source should the fire department need it when responding to a call in the Lakeview Drive area.

Ahoskie Police Chief Jimmy Asbell said among the reasons the barricades were erected there was due to the fact of the increased traffic entering and exiting the park.

“A lot of the residents there were complaining about the amount of traffic, that’s why the decision was made a few year ago to make Evans Street as the main entrance to the park and the amphitheater,” Asbell said. “So be mindful if you remove that barricade and allow entrance to the park on Lakeview Drive as well as Camlin Street you may hear complaints again about the increase in traffic.”

“We’re going to get complaints either way, but when citizens’ safety and kids’ safety are involved, that’s a greater cause and it behooves us to do the right thing,” said Hunt.

Hunt then made the motion, with a second from Sharpe, to keep the gate open on Camlin Street and to remove the barricades from Edgewood Drive, replacing it with a speed bump. The motion was approved without objection.

The barricades were removed late last week.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal