The public meeting on speed limits, hosted by City Councilmen Grif Chalfant and Johnny Sinclair, who share jurisdiction over the 400-plus-household subdivision off Whitlock Avenue, will result in a public works committee meeting later this month and may lead to the item appearing on the Nov. 14 City Council agenda.
Sinclair, a lifelong resident of the area, said before the meeting that traffic is the No. 1 topic he hears about from his constituents.
“I get more phone calls regarding traffic than any other issue,” he said.
Parents of young children, like Alli Schnatmeier, are among the loudest advocates for traffic control in the streets connecting Whitlock Avenue and Powder Springs Road.
“People race in the neighborhood. The neighborhood is full of children,” she said before the meeting. “It would be wonderful if it could be monitored more closely. The residents have definitely seen an increase in speeders and drivers using it as a cut-through.”
Homeowners at the meeting were steamed by what they called flagrant disregard for the posted 30 MPH speed limit.
Chalfant lost an average of one mailbox a month, Sinclair said a speeder demolished his neighbor’s brick mailbox and Wanda Reese said she “screams” at speeders.
Among the ideas raised included camera or patrol car surveillance, speed humps and speed tables, a flatter construction which permits normal travel at 25 MPH but “bottom out your car” at higher speeds, Chalfant said.
However, lowering the speed limit was the main topic, for which a majority of attendees indicated support.
Chalfant said going to a 25 MPH limit will result in slower speeders, he said.
“People are going to speed eight to ten miles over the limit, so if we lower the speed limit, it’ll slow them down,” Chalfant said.
The new speed limit can be the first step in a more tangible traffic calming process, Chalfant said.
“At the same committee meeting for the speed limit, we’re going to go over the qualifications for speed tables,” he said. “Seventy were requested and four qualified. People really want these.”
Speed hump and speed table qualifications, according to Assistant Public Works Director James Wilgus, include a study indicating a history of speeders exceeding the posted limit by 10 MPH or more.
Another qualification is a traffic volume of fewer than 3,000 vehicles per day to prevent the calming from turning into congestion on more heavily travelled streets.
Sinclair said neighbors may not agree with the installation of traffic calming devices but they may have to “take one for the team.”
“The speed hump is the most effective way to control traffic 24 hours a day,” Sinclair said.
Wilgus said the speed limit meeting was also driven by the city’s management of its 2011 special purpose local option sales tax proceeds.
About $400,000 has been allocated for traffic-calming measures, which the city has explored since SPLOST revenue started coming in about six months ago.
It costs about $1,500 to $3,000 to build a speed table, Wilgus said.