Residents want brakes applied to speeders in Marietta neighborhood
by Noreen Cochran
October 17, 2012 01:44 AM | 3383 views | 5 5 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta City Councilmen Johnny Sinclair, left, and Grif Chalfant share jurisdiction of the 400-plus-home Whitlock Heights subdivision and have been listening to the concerns of residents like Alli Schnatmeier, who’s holding her 4-year-old son, Rhett. <br> Photo by Emily Barnes
Marietta City Councilmen Johnny Sinclair, left, and Grif Chalfant share jurisdiction of the 400-plus-home Whitlock Heights subdivision and have been listening to the concerns of residents like Alli Schnatmeier, who’s holding her 4-year-old son, Rhett.
Photo by Emily Barnes
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MARIETTA — About 85 residents of Whitlock Heights mapped out a plan for dealing with speeders in their neighborhood during a 45-minute meeting at Hickory Hills School on Tuesday.

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.
Comments
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Resident taxpayer
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October 22, 2012
We've been trying to get them on Etowah drive for years but apparently our tax dollars don't spend as well as those near Whitlock.
onlycritter1968
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October 17, 2012
I guess if you have a Council member living in your neighborhood, you get the attention. I've had to deal with speeders and cut through traffic along Manning Road - or as we call it - Manning Freeway since the high school opened. Kids walk to MHS and BES everyday with 40-50 MPH traffic from Lee's Crossing and the duplexes down the street. When you have 14-foot lanes and long straightaways, people will speed up.

How about some attention over here Mr. Sinclair? Council? Anyone?
Fix Whitlock
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October 17, 2012
and this problem will disappear. Or take the traditional Marietta approach and form a committee to ignore it.
VFP42
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October 17, 2012
The problem is the western half of the Marietta Loop is missing. Build that AROUND Marietta and our traffic problems will be diminished greatly.
PowderSpringsRdHTR
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October 17, 2012
If there were a convenient way to get from S. Cobb Dr to Powder Springs Road you'd eliminate a lot of the traffic. How about plowing through that mobile home park on Sandtown and building a four-laner over there???
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