No Traffic Signal Is In The Plans For Laguna Shores Project; Residents Split Over The Decision

Art Metzinger 
News Director 
Southside Light 

Flour Bluff--If you've driven down Laguna Shores drive in Flour Bluff recently you may have noticed survey crews working in preparation for the upcoming overhaul of the badly damaged stretch of roadway. But now that the public meetings have been held and the funds have been allocated, the city of Corpus Christi has said exactly what it is that taxpayers will be given for their money. 

City spokesperson Yvette Garcia-Jones said that Laguna Shores project is part of Bond 2018 and was voted on and approved by the public the current scope of work includes reconstruction and widening of the existing 2-lane roadway. New roadways will be elevated to protect against wave action. Utility improvements are also included. However, there is one seemingly simple thing that was not included in the official plans that has some residents shaking their heads--a traffic signal. 

On any given morning during the school year traffic backs up along Laguna Shores from Hustlin' Hornet to at least Glen Oak due to traffic trying to get down into the Flour Bluff School complex. At times, residents note that traffic can even be backed up all the way to Caribbean, which makes for an even longer commute and a trickier driving pattern. 

"Certainly it's a safety issue," says Lisa Chavez, who sits in the traffic mess almost daily. "I went to the meeting and even brought it up, but nobody listened." 

Others like Lewis Washington, who owns property just off of Laguna Shores says that he is concerned about safety, as well. 

"You have everything you need right there to put it in," says Washington. "Maybe they ought to stop listening to that damn citizens council and listen more to the citizens. They don't represent anybody but themselves." 

Washington says that his frustration comes from almost being hit numerous times pulling out of his driveway and dealing with the traffic that gets backed up nearly each and every weekday morning. 

"I went to that meeting and saw Greg Smith and all them citizens council people being the little fish in the big pond," says Washinton. "But what they did was just act like gave a damn like they always do." 

But is it too late to get something like a traffic light added into the project? Engineers who have worked on similar projects say that at this point in the game the idea of installing a traffic signal could still be in play, if city leaders would allow for it. 

"All they have to do is come out and look at it for about a week if they need to collect data to justify the cost," says Chavez. "What we need is for those who are in control to start really listening to the people and less to the self-serving special interest group." 

But is a traffic light really needed and could it make more of a mess that the current 3 way stop? Traffic engineers say that a stop light can have that type of negative impact on an area. 

While people like Chavez and Washington complain about the safety issues and traffic tie-ups the reality is that while they are right, they could also be wrong and a traffic signal could make the situation even worse. 

Most would admit that the traffic is only a problem for about an hour each day and a traffic signal could likely not be justified for that type of situation. In fact, the truth is that by 8:30 each weekday morning traffic is cleared and things run mostly smooth for the rest of the day. 

Brandon Black, who travels Laguna Shores each morning and also deals with the traffic headache thinks that a traffic light is not the solution. 

"This is more of school traffic issue," says Black. "Hustlin Hornet is a nightmare anyhow with people making left turns against when it's posted not to do so and people making u-turns to head back towards Waldron so that they don't have to mess with the stop sign. I think a traffic light would just make it worse." 

Black feels that if anything the district should invest in more traffic control around the campus. 

"More traffic control and increased police presence is the real answer but the police are already stretched so thin," says Black. 

As for now, the construction is set to begin in February of 2020 and there are no plans for a traffic signal--yet.