Traffic Calming

by Tim Bryson, February 15, 2008 We have a problem with speeding in our neighborhood -- and it's not only cut-through commuters from outside the neighborhood. We have some long straight streets connecting busy arterial streets and that has tempted both commuters and residents to speed especially during rush hours. Traffic monitoring devices stationed on N Superior and on Desmond have clocked some vehicles exceeding 70 mph! See the Desmond Drive Traffic Calming update from February 2008 for results of a traffic study by the county. Periodically, the county has stationed police to ticket speeders during rush hours, but they cannot do it every day. (The police unit is called Tactical Operations and their phone number is 404-294-2278.) We have also tried driving our own pace cars during rush hour. Again, we cannot do it every day and the impact is short-lived. The other solution is installation of "traffic calming devices." CHCA residents tried several years ago to have devices installed on Webster and Desmond but the county at that time offered few options. That has changed. In 2007, residents of North Superior Ave between N Decatur and Desmond succeeded in having traffic calming devices installed on their street. Recently, after residents of Desmond between Clairmont and Reckle Road requested a traffic study, the county informed them that they qualified to request traffic calming. See the attached map of a possible configuration. The process started with one or two residents discovering the process and getting the county to set up traffic monitoring devices to see if the speeds and numbers of vehicles travelling the street in 24 hours met the minimum criteria to qualify for traffic calming. If the street qualifies, the county sends a letter like the attached delineating next steps, traffic calming options (e.g., speed tables, bike lanes, median strips), and cost ($25 per year per property owner on the affected street). Street representatives meet with the county traffic calming engineer to identify problem areas and recommended solutions. After a draft plan is circulated, the county engineer draws up a map to show where the selected traffic calming "devices" would be located. At that time, the CHCA board can help organize a public meeting for residents to discuss this and other options. Once a consensus is reached among residents on the street, the proposal goes to the Board of Commissioners who approve the request and issue an official petition form. 65% of property owners on the street have to sign the petition within 90 days in order for the county to go ahead and install whatever devices are selected. Traffic calming has to be requested by property owners on individual streets. Although the CHCA board can assist in getting information and organizing meetings, residents need to take the lead. The following individuals stepped forward in recent years to organize their neighbors to petition the county for traffic calming devices.
  • John Maynard for N. Superior Ave. between Desmond Dr. and N. Decatur Rd. Email: jmaynard@tourou.edu
  • Anne Keller for Willivee Rd. between Desmond Dr. and N. Decatur Rd. Email: akeller11@bellsouth.net
  • Melinda Yantch for Heritage Hills and N. Superior Ave. from Desmond Dr. to Heritage Hills. Email: tymy@bellsouth.net
  • Emily Janke for Desmond Dr. from Clairmont Rd. to Willivee Rd. Email: emily.janke@gmail.com
Recently, at CHCA request, commissioner Jeff Rader expressed interest in organizing meetings to develop a transportation plan for our neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods. Here's a youtube video from PEDS.org that dramatizes the issue (not for the faint-hearted). PEDS video
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