January was the month for traffic calming. Four town meetings were held regarding traffic calming requests and options for four distinct locations. These meetings involved mailed notices to affected property owners and were part of the official Public Works process to implement changes. The impacted areas are River Road; Belote ,Marco Place and adjoining streets; Lakewood and Northwood Roads; and Gadsden.
At each meeting Public Works confirmed that traffic counts warranted traffic calming and the various options available were discussed. Among the options are reducing the speed limit to 20 mph, traffic humps, altering travel lane width with medians, etc, and changes in traffic patterns such as one-way streets. Neighbors continue to inquire about adding stop signs which Public Works refuses to do because they believe they create a safety hazard. Any option will involve signage to advise drivers of the traffic calming measure in place. The City process requires that a petition be signed by 75% of the property owners in an affected area and that the property owners as a group bear 50% of the cost of the desired installation. Of course that cost varies by option with speed limit changes being the least expensive and medians being the most.
At the River Road meeting, the residents present favored a speed limit reduction over other options. There was concern over the signage and residents did not like the language “Traffic Calming Area” but preferred something like “Residential Speed Zone” to alert motorists to the change. Julie Pippins, Sue Turner, and Faye Price have volunteered to work to collect the required petitions and funding for this area.
At the Belote/Marco Place meeting, lowering the speed limit seemed to again be the preferred option, at least a t a first step. There was some discussion over the size of the affected area and it was noted that owners along Pineridge had not been included when Public Works defined the initial area. It was agreed they would need to be and another meeting will be held for that street once we receive the official list for notices from City staff. Some residents inquired whether “Speed Zone” could be painted on the street in lieu of signage since the posted speed limit is the regulatory sign and there is more flexibility with the warning sign that is just designed to alert motorists to the change in the area. Volunteers in this area include Robert and Leone Faust.
The Gadsden Road meeting was the first for that area and we received many interesting comments and questions. The dip in the road and lack of visibility were a major concern as well as those speeding to make the light at the Greenridge/Hendricks intersection. Many suggested eliminating the signal or closing that entrance from Hendricks altogether. The area was also expanded to include adjacent streets. Public Works committed to a site visit and further investigation after which we will schedule another meeting.
The Lakewood/Northwood Road meeting was geared toward placement and signage for speed humps since work on that project had begun months ago and speed humps were the request of the several neighbors spearheading the effort. However, there was some opposition at the meeting and it appeared that at least some prefer a lowered speed limit as the first step. Malcolm Jones is the volunteer coordinating the petition effort and which option is selected will depend on the petitioners. The illustration below depicts a typical speed hump installation.