City Councilman Anthony Coleman, chair of the city council’s public safety committee, said he and the Marietta Police Department are conferring now over which techniques to use.
“(We will) crack down on speeders with the goal of making our streets and communities safer for residents,” Coleman said.
Some aspects of the initiative will involve the selective traffic enforcement program, or STEP.
“STEP, along with uniform patrol, will be conducting enforcement as a concentrated effort during the campaign with special attention to our complaint areas,” said Sgt. Brian Honea of the Marietta Police Department.
Police Chief Dan Flynn said the public safety toolkit includes a wide selection of displays.
“We will use our variable message signs, Sky Watch and speed trailer at strategic locations, all with safe driving messages,” he said.
The initiative will roll out in the historic district represented by Coleman and two other council members, but it may go citywide, according to Mayor Steve Tumlin.
“If we can minimize (speeders in) one area and it has good results, we would spread it,” Tumlin said. “It is a city-wide problem.”
Tumlin said any additional costs can be balanced by revenue from issuing speeding tickets, but he said the neighborhood will not become “a speed trap.”
“We don’t enforce traffic to generate revenue. We enforce traffic to enhance public safety and quality of life,” he said. “There’s a thin line between a speed trap and enhancing public safety.”
Tumlin said he liked the grass-root support for this version of a campaign the city has mounted in the past.
“We’ve got key people involved,” he said about leaders like Patti Pearlburg, who spoke at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. “I love it that the neighborhood is interested in it. I like the way it started.”
On Dec. 20, police officers met with neighbors at a town hall meeting.
“As the meeting progressed, the residents indicated that their main agenda is to meet with City Council and request speed-calming and other forms of traffic control devices for their neighborhoods,” Flynn said in a statement.
About 50 residents attended the City Council meeting Wednesday to request a lower speed limit.
“What we are asking is that you change the speed limit on our neighborhood streets from 30 and 35 mph — it’s rather disjointed how the assignment is done right now — to 25 mph,” Pearlburg said, presenting a 145-signature petition.
Resident Jeff Gehlbach said the new speed limit signs will help reduce accidents like the 125 crashes reported in a one-year period.
“We recognize that it’s not a total solution, but we do think it will help,” he said.
If drivers still exceed the new speed limit, at least their rates may top out at 40 mph, due to a state law.
“Traffic is left to flow unmolested until they are exceeding the posted speed limit by 15 mph,” said Robert Sanstead.
Resident Chris Brown said drivers may be keeping their eyes on the road, not their speedometers.
“I think the sign on Church Street that shows ‘Your Speed Is’ does a really nice job. I would love to see one of those on Cherokee Street as well and would offer space in front of our house to put one,” he said. “It would give people data about how fast they are going.”
The City Council took no action on the speed limit request during the meeting Wednesday.