Saturday, June 19, 2010

How Round Cove Rd came to be the main access

Plan for closure of Round Cove Rd--the real facts

The current DCR plan for restoring erosion at Hawksnest called for closing Round Cove Rd to public vehicular traffic.  The closure would occur close to the corner with Seth Whitfield Rd (Hawksnest Rd), with provision for informal parking there. 

Note that the plan does NOT call for closure to police, park, or emergency vehicles.  Public vehicles would be stopped by a gate, but the road itself would actually be improved with grading, increasing access to police and emergency vehicles.  With the planned grading, police patrols could be increased, helping to control abuse at the Round Cove Rd parking area.

The DCR plan does call for stopping access to the new, lower parking area at Round Cove Rd.  Access would be stopped by piling woody debris there.  The newspaper erroneously reported that this barrier would be created at the four corners, stopping ALL traffic.  Nope.  Access to official vehicles will actually be improved.

The current plan for restoration at Round Cove parking has been withdrawn by DCR, to give the public more time to comment, and possibly to revise the plan.  I support the current plan, with minor modifications.  One of my reasons is that the improved access planned from Walker and Spruce Roads will actually be more convenient.

History of access to Hawksnest

When Hawksnest became a state park in the late 1970's, access from Round Cove Rd was actually quite good.  You could drive up to 50 mph on the road.  For this reason, plus the fact that it was a continuation of a larger road on the other side of SR 137, more people went to the pond via Round Cove Rd.

Sometime early in the Park's history, access via Round Cove Road at the four corners was blocked by a chain.  This lasted for some years.  So the plan to limit access here isn't new.

In contrast, access via Walker Rd was known to few.  When the Mid Cape Highway was constructed, Spruce Rd was built as a frontage Rd.  It served no one except a few cabins on Walker Rd.  It was truly the road to nowhere.   So as Round Cove Rd deteriorated, people kept coming that way.  They just followed old habits.   Today, access via Spruce Road is really more convenient and safe for vehicles.  When the planned improvements are made there, access will be still more convenient.

So, I feel that people who object to the closing of Round Cove Rd (from the four corners) to public vehicles are following habit.  They will still have rapid access from Spruce Rd.  There is more paving along this route, and Walker Rd, although dirt, is in good shape.

Some folks say their kids like to walk to the pond via Round Cove Road.  When the road becomes closed to vehicles from the four corners, it will be SAFER for kids to walk.   Parents can still give kids a lift to the four corners.
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This news story was unclear, helping to create the misimpression that access at the four corners would be blocked by woody debris, thus blocking even official vehicles.  In fact, the woody barrier would block access only to the big muddy puddle and newly created, renegade parking next to the pond.

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