Residents in the Kings Grant subdivision are looking for answers after years of dealing with commuters cutting through neighborhood’s streets when traffic backs up on Dorchester Road.
“They will enter at the beginning of Kings Grant and exit at the last exit on Shaftesbury and they try to beat the lineup,” said resident Myron Johnson.
The neighborhood’s streets run parallel to Dorchester Road for about 1.5 miles.
They say the volume of traffic coming through the neighborhood is concerning and say it is affecting their quality of life because sometimes, the traffic backs up on neighborhood streets. They are also worried that someone might get hurt by it.
“We are so afraid that a child or an adult is going to get hit with this drive-through traffic,” said Johnson.
Residents say they have worked with and/or contacted the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, county council members and the South Carolina Department of Transportation but say not enough has been done.
“It’s time for legislators to wake up and protect our existing neighborhoods by passing laws that prevent this sort of thing,” said resident Rick Dandridge.
Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight said he has long been aware of the issues facing Kings Grant and says several other subdivisions in the county are dealing with the same issue.
“I imagine we have three to four subdivisions right now that have what we call pass-through problems,” said Sheriff Knight.
He says that a county ordinance that prohibits thru traffic, between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the subdivision, is not worth writing tickets for because they will get thrown out by a judge.
“How can I enforce an ordinance that says I’m going to write somebody [a ticket] that’s going to pass through when most probably that person passing through, if they live in Dorchester County, some of their taxes fixes that street,” said Sheriff Knight. “I know they would get thrown out if I was sitting over there as a judge so I don’t even bother to write them.”
Nonetheless, the sheriff’s office is patrolling the neighborhood and conducting checkpoints in the area. During DCSO’s patrols of Kings Grant in first four months of 2019, between 21 to 31 percent of them in occurred during the ordinance’s hours.
The sheriff says he also also made suggestions to improve the problem.
“Speed bumps, change some of the stop signs and try to reroute some of the entrances where it’s not as convenient to get off Dorchester Road,” he said.
But the sheriff says the issue is a bigger problem that is out of his hands and said the congestion issues on Dorchester Road need to be improved.
“I don’t know that it’s the sheriff’s responsibility to solve it… Until we get our roads fixed where we can handle more traffic, I don’t know how we can stop it in some of these areas.”
SCDOT is planning an improvements project on Dorchester Road, near the neighborhood between State Park Road and Parlor Drive. The goal of the project is to improve safety and reduce congestion. More information about the project can be found by clicking here.
Residents say they hope legislators and officials from different agencies can come together to find solutions for subdivisions facing thru traffic issues.