Debate slows while city sifts through code; Speed humps possible after council decides who can vote
by Noreen Cochran
ncochran@mdjonline.com
February 27, 2013 12:29 AM | 2365 views | 5 5 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Let the speeders of Marietta beware: You are about to be hit with an array of “traffic calming” tools in residential neighborhoods aimed at slowing you down.

But whether your car is jolted by a sudden “bump” or glides over a more relaxed “hump,” or faces no impediments at all, will depend on how residents of the affected neighborhoods vote.

First, the city must figure out which households it allows to vote.

More than a dozen neighborhoods seeking to control speeders will have to wait at least another week to get answers on who is eligible to vote for or against the ubiquitous “speed hump.”

Revisions to a speed hump ordinance will be presented at the next council meeting March 6.

The ordinance would allow all households in a neighborhood managed by a homeowners’ association to vote on whether to install the humps.

“If you have to ride over speed bumps (to get to) your house by the closest arterial, you would get to vote,” said city engineer Jim Wilgus.

The ordinance would give full votes to residents who need to use the street in question to get to their homes. It would give a half-vote to those who can use another street to get home.

If 70 percent of households vote yes, then speed humps, bumps or tables will be installed.

Residents speak out

Paul Walker of the Lee’s Crossing Homeowners’ Association said a speed-related accident Feb. 16, in which Dane T. Kolbeck of Marietta, 42, was killed, set the tone for the discussion.

“I have had a lot of people come to me and say they hate all this controversy we had,” Walker said about which households get to vote, “but they’re still very concerned about safety.”

Walker said he supports speed humps and believes a margin of 51 percent in his neighborhood should be all that is required to get them installed.

“There’s a good consensus in our neighborhood that we want everybody to vote,” he said. Walker said those in favor of speed humps would prefer that a simple majority vote be all that is required.

Those against the humps tend to favor a “supermajority” of 70 percent.

Lee’s Crossing resident Lisa Schneiderman said Walker doesn’t speak for the neighborhood as a whole.

“To use fear as an impetus to put something so permanent or semi-permanent in, that affects a large number of people, doesn’t stick to the facts,” she said. “When you have something this divisive in our neighborhood, it needs to be a higher threshold.”

Bill Wilson, also of Lee’s Crossing, called Lee’s Trace a “nice, quiet street.”

Resident Robert Maynard said fears of noise are based on temporary, plastic speed bumps, not the more permanent asphalt humps.

He also said 51 percent should be enough to approve traffic-calming methods if all homeowners are allowed to vote. If only those on the affected streets are allowed to vote, then a “supermajority” of 70 percent should be required, Maynard said.

Council debates

City Councilman Johnny Sinclair proposed reducing the threshold of votes required to 65 percent, down 5 percent from the ordinance’s 70 percent.

City Councilman Jim King, chair of the public works committee, disagreed.

“This is complicated enough without sliding scales of approval,” he said.

The city council unanimously voted to work on the ordinance further before bringing it to a vote.

Sinclair also proposed that Knollwood Drive should leapfrog ahead of 66 other roads in the race to get speed humps installed.

King pointed out the street does not qualify for them under city criteria.

Sinclair countered with a “33 percent failure rate” in which one out of three neighborhoods have voted against speed humps.

“Maybe we should start from the other end,” Sinclair said. “It doesn’t qualify, but everybody wants it.”

Mayor Steve Tumlin warned Sinclair against politicking for his ward.

“It’s not based on the earmark system,” Tumlin said. “It’s not Congress.”

King said they could run the tests again to see if Knollwood qualifies, but pushed back against “arbitrarily reprioritizing based on phone calls.”

“It’s not arbitrary,” Sinclair said. “I promise you that. I appreciate your compromise.”
Comments
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LC whiners
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February 28, 2013
As a LC resident I was actually anti-speed table when the issue first came up...until the anti-speed table group opened their mouths. The Schneidermans and Wilsons and the rest of the anti-speed table people who have been pitching fits like whiny, entitled brats instead of talking about this issue like reasonable adults have moved me squarely into the pro-speed table camp. I'd gladly slow down for speed tables just to teach that crew a lesson in humility.
manning road
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February 27, 2013
I live just off Manning Rd. outside of Lee's Crossing. Manning Rd. is a speedway on the stretch from Lee's towards the high school. We need speed bumps/humps on Manning on this straightaway. How does one go about getting the attention of the city to consider this?
Lees Crossing Reside
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February 27, 2013
The tragic accident that happened on Manning Road, that took someone's life, was not speed related, but alchol related, and again, did NOT happen in Lees Crossing. We have a HOA board that think they represent our whole neighborhood. WRONG! That are totally biased. in our "speed table" issue and are trying to sway our neighborhood to vote them in. Time for a new Board!
alert observer
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February 27, 2013
Please note that the tragic accident that resulted in a death, was NOT IN LEES CROSSING SUBDIVISION. It was on Manning Road. Also, I second the comment by Mrs. Schneiderman, that Mr. Walker DOES NOT SPEAK for the majority of the neighbors in Lees Crossing. Time for new board members?
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