Turn talk into action

Published 3:17 pm Saturday, March 17, 2007

By Staff
When Mickey Gahagan and Archie Jennings, members of Washington’s City Council, meet with Mildred Council and Ray Craft, members of Greenville’s City Council, on Monday, what they talk about could turn into action by both councils.
That discussion Monday night, to be conducted at the Skills Center at the Beaufort County Industrial Park, will be of mutual concern to the two councils. It also will be of concern to Washington residents and Greenville residents.
The Washington-Greenville joint issues committee is scheduled to discuss the following issues:
As for the U.S. 264 corridor between the two cities, members of each council have previously said they would like to see limited commercial development along the highway. They also want to limit access to the highway. By doing so, council members said, that would help prevent traffic congestion and keep traffic flowing because vehicles would not have to slow down or stop for other vehicles entering or exiting the highway.
Council members said they would prefer that U.S. 264 become the major east-west artery connecting the two cities. As for commercial development between the two cities, they prefer letting N.C. Highway 33 become the commercial corridor linking Pitt County and Beaufort County.
Using U.S. 264 as the highway to shuttle traffic between the two cities makes sense. By limiting the number of curb cuts along that highway, traffic will move smoother and faster. That’s what is needed on a highway that carries many people in the Washington area to Greenville where they work, shop and conduct other business. It’s also needed to move people in the Greenville area to Washington where they visit the N.C. Estuarium, attend Music in the Streets events and stroll along the waterfront.
U.S. 264 doesn’t need to become “littered” with so many driveways, curb cuts and other vehicle access points that it becomes clogged with vehicles slowed by other vehicles seeking to enter or exit the traffic flow. If those curb cuts and driveways are allowed, what is now a 25-minute drive between the two cities will become a 35-minute drive, or longer.
Preserving the limited-access configuration along U.S. 264 ties in with improving accessibility to the Pitt-Greenville Airport for travelers from the Washington area. Anything to improve that accessibility would be welcome. Perhaps council members also will discuss increasing the number of flights and possibly the number of airlines, serving the airport. More flights and competition among airlines at the airport would well-serve area travelers.
With the eastern-most part of Greenville just 10 miles from the western-most part of Washington, it’s understandable the two cities want to talk about common issues, problems and opportunities. And they should talk.
But more than talk is need. The two cities should turn that talk into action. There’s plenty of work the two cities can do together that would benefit their residents and taxpayers.
More than the Pamlico-Tar River and U.S. 264 link the two communities. They share common problems and opportunities.
Two communities working to solve common problems and take advantage of common opportunities can combine resources to solve those problems and benefit from those opportunities.
It’s a joint effort that’s long overdue. But as the saying goes, it’s better late than never.