Without a more comprehensive, pragmatic approach to the high number of reckless drivers commuting through our neighborhoods, we will probably become known as “Speed Bump City.” These Band-Aid solutions will also damage our quality of life and decrease property values.
I have met with many city of Marietta staff and elected leaders. In addition, at every neighborhood gathering, those of us who live in Oakton/Keeler Woods speak about the dangerous and insensitive drivers that treat our neighborhood streets like Barrett Parkway or “the four-lane highway.”
I have been encouraging our leaders to look at the problem from a larger perspective. Currently it is kind of like trying to invent different and more effective fly swatters instead of shutting the front door.
A most recent example: Although the speed humps on Evelyn Street may have decreased the traffic/speed somewhat on that street, it undoubtedly increased the traffic on parallel streets. With GPS technology available, drivers pay little attention to where they are going anymore, just follow the guidance. We must out-smart the machine.
The city of Atlanta is limiting turns onto certain streets at certain times of the day. I have been told we can’t do that in Marietta or enforce “no thru traffic” even though those signs are up in certain areas.
I (and most of my neighbors) would welcome limited turns on certain streets during rush hour times to control commuter traffic flows. Other possibilities include converting some Old Marietta neighborhoods with no real entrances/exits to true one way in/one way out type neighborhoods or closing some cut-through streets at the mid-point. I am not a traffic engineer, but I would like to see my tax dollars spent to hire one.
The city of Marietta not only doesn’t limit access to neighborhoods, it encourages it. A good example is the red light timing at the Burnt Hickory/Polk Street intersection. City resident drivers trying to get to Marietta High School in the morning driving west on Polk get a very brief time to get across on the green light. But drivers commuting south on Burnt Hickory trying to access residential Polk Street are allowed a lengthy left turn signal time. Why would we encourage people to turn on to residential Polk when Whitlock Avenue is just another 200 yards down the hill?
Would limiting neighborhood access increase traffic on some major corridors like Whitlock? Yes, and undoubtedly those folks driving in from Paulding and way out in west Cobb will find it more advantageous to take Barrett Parkway or the East West Connector as they were designed to provide options for commuters to get around on a more high-volume roadway.
Until there is a solution, I plead with my fellow citizens to drive down our neighborhood streets like you drive down yours. Some city residents are enduring five to six cars lined up at our stop signs, speeders riding our bumper as they get frustrated that we are not hurrying along at 40 mph-plus as well as true danger as we try to access the mailbox. Everyone can help by respecting all neighborhood streets as you would a school zone. Drive slowly, take it easy (leave home earlier) and keep your head on a swivel for kids and cars entering/exiting their homes.
There has to be a better way than blanketing Marietta in speed humps and bumps.