NC HOA faces dilemma: how to control traffic on private roads

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Home buyers might believe that living in a planned community with private roads is a good thing. They might imagine that traffic on their road will be limited to residents and guests.

But, as the following report illustrates, traffic headaches and hazards are quite common in HOAs.

For one thing, most common interest communities tend to have one or a few primary “through” streets with several side streets and cul-de-sacs branching off of a main road. Main artery roads that lead in and out of the community concentrate traffic flow to and from every home within HOA boundaries.

Sometimes a neeighborhood’s main street becomes a preferred short cut for local residents who want to avoid busy traffic intersections, or those who prefer to save time diving through a planned community, rather than driving around it.


Speeding drivers on private road cause safety concerns for parents

by: Tina Terry Updated: Oct 4, 2017 – 5:37 PM (WSOC-TV)

DENVER, N.C. – Unless she’s holding her kids, Julie Fay won’t let them play in their own front yard.

“I’ve got four children and everyone in this neighborhood has kids and our kids can’t even play out here,” she said.

Fay told Channel 9 that hundreds of drivers speed past her home on Natalie Commons Drive every week, running stop signs.

“They’re going 40, 50, 60 miles an hour through here,” Fay said. “Sometimes even faster.”

Natalie Commons Drive is a private road in a residential area, but it’s appealing to drivers because it’s a shortcut between two busy roads — NC-16 and NC-16 Business.

“It’s dangerous, and there’s just so much traffic, it’s unreal,” Fay said. “Lincoln County could fund their department writing speeding tickets on this road.”

The Lincoln County Sheriff said deputies can’t enforce the 15 mile-per-hour speed limit because the road isn’t regulated by state law. Deputies can, however, cite people for reckless driving.

Read more (Video):

A common complaint I hear from all over the U.S. – local police will not enforce speeding violations or running through stop signs on private roads, because state laws do not allow it.

In some states, such as Florida and California, HOAs can hire private security staff or use surveillance systems to monitor traffic. But the HOA can only create traffic rules and fines that apply to their own residents. The HOA cannot ticket or impose fines on any driver who does not live in the community. Private police action also opens HOA corporations to  Constitutional challenges.

Both of these options involve additional costs for homeowners.

Gated entry points, if and when they exist, can prevent shortcut-seeking drivers, but they can also create bottlenecks entering and exiting  the community, particularly during rush hours. The gates themselves require expensive equipment and maintenance. Guarded gates add considerable labor costs on top of mechanical gates, and some residents think monitoring their guests and visitors is a violation of privacy.

Homeowners on Natalie Commons Drive in Villages of Denver are wise to seek dedication of their private road to either Lincoln County or NC Department of Transportation. In doing so, local police will be able to control speeding drivers, and improve community safety, especially for families with children. Homeowners will also relieve their Association of the costly burden of maintaining a high traffic road.

A Google search of the neighborhood reveals new construction is ongoing in the community, therefore the developer may also play a role in facilitating dedication of Natalie Commons Drive.


For another example of the same traffic problem, see the following video from Florida:

Speed Busters: Riverview neighborhood a shortcut for speeding drivers

News Channel 8 Traffic Reporter Leslee Lacey
By Leslee Lacey
Published: September 28, 2017, 9:47 am Updated: September 28, 2017, 9:57 am

RIVERVIEW, Fla. (WFLA) — A neighborhood street in Riverview has a split personality. It’s mostly quiet as a mouse but as soon as rush hour hits, residents say the subdivision of Riverview Meadows turns into a speedway.

Residents told WFLA Traffic Reporter Leslee Lacey that drivers began using their neighborhood as a shortcut when another entrance opened up on Symmes Road.

Riverview Meadows homeowner Elizabeth Radhakrishnan says she invested in the neighborhood a couple years ago because it was quiet, safe and family friendly. Then months after closing on her house, the second entrance opened and non-residents began turning right from Symmes Road onto Warren Oaks Place to get to US 301.

This lets commuters avoid waiting at a busy traffic light at Symmes Rd and US 301.

Read more (Video):


1 thought on “NC HOA faces dilemma: how to control traffic on private roads

  1. Another great and timely blog article Deborah. Thank you!

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