City of Tybee Island considering traffic calming strategy on Hwy 80

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 4:20 PM EST
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - For about a year now, the City of Tybee Island has been working alongside the Georgia Department of Transportation on how they can improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety on that road as well as Highway 80.

Tybee City Manager Shawn Gillen says GDOT presented them with an early concept, called a “road diet” or a traffic calming strategy. They did this by looking at things like the island’s traffic count, peak and low times, and what the traffic flow looks like.

One of the first things Gillen says GDOT found was that the island has a lot of traffic delays due to pinch points and left-hand turns. To help with this they proposed taking Highway 80 and Butler Avenue from four lanes to two.

This would keep it a consistent two-lane road from the Bull River Bridge to Tybrisa Street. Then, they’d put in a center lane that would stretch the entire length of the corridor to prevent backups.

The proposal also includes taking away the parking on the eastbound side of Butler and making it a dedicated bike and pedestrian lane, putting rear-angle parking on the oceanside of Butler, which they say is safer than parallel parking, and putting in a roundabout or a traffic triangle on the south end where the Park of Seven Flags is.

No matter what they do here, Gillen says they will honor the Park of Seven Flags and its importance to the community.

Gillen says lastly, GDOT proposed changing the yellow flashing lights at the pedestrian crossings to a red-light system.

“Some of the more dangerous spots in Chatham County for pedestrian and bicycles and vehicle crashes are right here along Highway 80 and Butler just because of the sheer volume of people who come throughout the year. So, creating that efficient flow of the traffic was something they’re looking at,” Gillen said.

Gillen says after this week’s meeting there’s a lot to absorb. He reminds everyone that these are just concepts and before anything happens, they’ll host a series of public input meetings to hear everyone’s feedback. He says they hope to start these around the start of the new year.