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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Traffic must slow down in Milton


Courtesy Jonathan Copsey / Appen Newspapers

January 18, 2010 MILTON - For subdivisions demanding speed humps and other traffic calming devices on their streets, Milton may have some bad news.

At last week's council work session, the consensus was residents would pay for traffic calming devices.

The problem is this: A lot of traffic cuts through Milton and much of it goes through subdivisions and neighborhoods, often at speeds higher than the posted speed limit.

There is no way to reduce the volume of traffic, but speeds can be controlled.

Homeowners' associations (HOAs) have petitioned the city to install speed bumps and similar devices to slow vehicles down. Milton's current traffic calming policy does not specifically address such petitions.

"We have serious problems regarding speeders in our neighborhood. The speeding is atrocious," said Bret Cole of the Hopewell Plantation HOA.

According to Cole, Hopewell Plantation serves as an oft-used shortcut for traffic. "There's no way of controlling that right now," he added.

To combat this problem, Public Works Director Carter Lucas proposed a series of changes to the policy to formalize and regulate a system for accepting applications for traffic calming devices. Under his suggestions, an application would go like this: A formal request for speed control measures is made of the city.

City employees would then go out and conduct a traffic study to determine if the street meets traffic volume limits (between 400 and 4,000 vehicles a day) and if 15 percent of those vehicles speed in excess of 10 mph the posted limit.

If the road is eligible, an application fee is paid and residents sign a petition of approval (which requires 75 percent of the affected residents' signatures). The city designs and then installs it.

The questions put before council were "how fast is too fast?" and "how much should the subdivision pay?"

Under the current guidelines, of the 11 subdivisions that have requested traffic calming measures, only seven met the traffic volume requirements. Of those, most speeds on the roads were clocked in at between 5 mph and 8 mph over the speed limit. Only White Columns subdivision had speeds much higher – the average there was a full 16 mph too fast. Council was unanimous in their support of making the speeding threshold between 5 mph and 8 mph, which would allow most of the other subdivisions to apply.

Of more concern was cost. Speed control measures, depending on the design and material, cost between $2,000 and $5,000, said Lucas.

By attaching a fee to the approval process and requiring HOAs to foot some of the bill, the city can weed out those communities that are not entirely serious about putting in the measures. According to Lucas, a cheap material, such as rubber, would be covered 50-50 by the city and the subdivision. For anything different – such as brick – the HOA would fund the difference.

Council member Karen Thurman raised to question of installing such measures on open roads, where speeding is just as much of a problem as in the subdivisions.

"In south Florida they have them [traffic calming devices] everywhere you go," said Thurman. "And some of those roads are more than 35 mph."

"Once you get out of a typical subdivision, you really start getting into the question of liability on the city's part," warned Lucas. "It's really an obstruction of the roadway."

Mayor Joe Lockwood agreed. "My road is 35 mph and myself and my neighbors would love to put speed calming devices on our road, but it's not a neighborhood," he said. "We'd open a can of worms if we went [putting traffic calming devices on roads with speed limits] over 35 miles an hour."

City attorney Ken Jarrard said Milton must comply with Georgia law for what is safe to put in the road.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Might turn out like Crooked Creek when they complained about speeders. Police watched the area and most speeders were residents of CC.

Anonymous said...

Well Crooked Creek, your man got in office and did a flip on ya. Less than a month in office, Joe Clinton is turning into a "forget the promises" politican.

Travis Allen said...

Okay, someone please explain to me why a neighborhood association would have to pay for something to be done to a "public" street?

Isn't it the city's responsibility to make our roads safe?

I understand in my neighborhood, since our road is "private."

We paid for our own speed bumps, no problem, but now that more and more crazy drivers are coming through at 40+ in the morning to get to Hopewell Middle and Cogburn Woods, we are considering gating amongst other things.

And White Columns doesn't have any through streets does it? No? Then why should I care, that tells me that the residents are the problem.

Anonymous said...

There are 35 mph open roads with cross walks (like Rucker Road), yield signs, stop signs and stop lights.

Why would it be an "obstruction" to put a traffic calming device on a open road?

As a Crooked Creek resident, I applaud the new Council for listening to the voters and addressing Milton's traffic issues.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Travis - it is unfair to make subdivision residents pay to improve a public road.

The City may call it a 50/50 cost-sharing or a fee. I call it a 'tax' paid only by subdivision residents. Clearly unfair.

Maybe we should convert all of our subdivision cut-through streets to gravel roads? That would certainly reduce and slow traffic and I presume the City would then pay for 100% of the upkeep?

Anonymous said...

Do subdivision residents use the public road? If you do, then you share the burden.

Anonymous said...

If they would put up some traffic lights people would not need to cut through Crooked Creek. Mainly the intersection of Frances-Cogburn-Hopewell near the back side of C.C.

Anonymous said...

7:42 Poster

That was a real bright thing to say.

Non-subdivision residents use the public road, so how do you expect them to share the burden?

Anonymous said...

If HOA's install them they must meet the requirements of the MUTCD. If not and a car is damaged the HOA will paid for cost of repairs. The posted picture of the speed hump does not meet the requirements.

Travis Allen said...

What is wrong with the one in the photo?

It looks like a standard speed bump to me.

I've always felt that if you're going fast enough to damage your car, then one of 2 things happened:

1. You had your head up you *$$ and you weren't paying attention, so you didn't see the speed bump.

2. You were just going too damn fast, and any resulting damage is just too bad. You got what you deserved.

The people that haul through our neighborhood in the morning should have the license's revoked.

Travis Allen said...

Nevermind, I see now.

The ones we installed are compliant.

Makes me wonder how many are not since you see speed bumps painted yellow without directional arrows all the time.

http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/HTM/2003/part3/part3b2.htm#section3B26

Anonymous said...

Let's put in traffic circles instead of speed bumps - and pay for them by putting cell towers in the center.

Anonymous said...

Travis,
Several are install wrong.. The b=iggest deal with speedhumps/bumps are signage and marking. When the spped design comes into play you will have a flat top in the middle of the hump that could be 12 feet in lenght. So it would be 12feet up 12feet top and 12feet down. This is a common design for 25mph subdivisions. There are several problems with the poorly designed speed hump install in the pictures. http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2003r1r2/part3/part3-toc.htm

Anonymous said...

You do not need speed humps. People would not cut through if the major intersections around the neighborhood had traffic lights and the traffic moved faster that way.

Anonymous said...

How would having lights (which stop traffic) cause traffic to move faster? The only way to get traffic moving more freely is to cut it down. maybe speed bumps are the way to do it, by discouraging commuters.

Anonymous said...

What you need is the technology to automatically govern down all auto speeds to 25 mph max as they enter city limits and retain that limit until they exit city limits. Of course emergency vehicles, police, fire and ambulance, would be exempt.

Anonymous said...

To the 12:07 pm poster, a traffic light at Cogburn and Francis would definitely reduce the number of cars that speed through Crooked Creek at rush hour.

During the evening rush hour, there are typically 30+ northbound cars backed up on Cogburn Road because of the inefficient 4-way stop signs at Cogburn and Francis. At this same time, there are usually only a few cars stopped at the signs on Francis/Hopewell Roads.

To avoid this backup, commuters from north Milton and Forsyth take Highway 9 north (which is also heavily congested) to the front entrance of Crooked Creek and cut through to Francis Road.

By cutting through Crooked Creek and avoiding the traffic on Cogburn Road, commuters probably save 30 minutes - If I lived to the north, I would do it too.

A traffic light at Cogburn and Francis would eliminate the rush hour backups on Cogburn Road and would reduce the number of speeding commuters who cut through Crooked Creek.

Anonymous said...

Traffic Lights work better than any four way stop condition. Then you are able to control it with signal timing. Traffic circles work great if you have the rights of way to do it.

If you cut out the traffic in the town it would dry up. Face the facts several people out here in the country work in Milton to... If the town could stand alone then why ask for funding and grants. Need to spend money repairing the roads and pot holes in town.

Anonymous said...

Poster 1:01 that is a great idea.

Anonymous said...

Yea Yea !! Thats what we need now.. Give the rights of being able to drive to a town that can control your speed.... We do this already with speed limits, seatbelts and any other law you can think off. Wonder the city does not have toll being collect as you enter the city on the city streets. That might fix all the pot holes I hit coming into your town.

Anonymous said...

Just try to drive around the pot holes, if that's possible.

Anonymous said...

As you know you can't miss them all on the poorly lighted streets. As a requirement of the city are they not to put up street lights? What is the min. requirements that the city has to supply? Another thing all the mail box's so close to the road on the city rights of way. Better hope I never hit one of them...

Anonymous said...

Do you have your headlights on when driving after dark?

Tim Enloe said...

All:

Street lights cannot be installed unless the property owner agrees. Thus, good luck with that.

Next, all the mail boxes in the open road neighborhoods are property of the US postal service. In addition, the majority of these have been in place long before the majority of folks reading this lived here.

Bottom line; it is you that had better watch out and not hit a mail box and keep your eyes on the road or you could very easily be the one up the creek without a paddle.

Keep safe,

Tim Enloe
Accessmilton.com
770 653 0552

Anonymous said...

Tim:
I just cant let this slide. If I place a 4X4 brick mailbox within two feet of the road I have just made a death trap. Even signs and post on the rights of way has to meet the MUTCD just like speed humps. They have to be a break away style. Anything on the rights away should be approved by the city and not the property owner. Mailboxs are hit everyday and the city and land owner always lose the battle. Never has the USG got involved in a mailbox case. If you mess with a mailbox then they will come after you. Just good common sense should be used. Headlights are on but if there is nothing on it that reflects light you will not see it. Never up a creek.

Anonymous said...

Keep your vehicle inside the lines, don't speed, keep your eyes on the road and don't look for cell towers, think you will be o.k.

Anonymous said...

Yea right .. Someone cross the line that might cause a headon and it have to get off the road to avoid it. Please tell me how when someone installs a mailbox feet from the road. Avoiding I live till I hit that mailbox. The markings are the road are for guides as you travel. You can even have ruts at the edge of the ROW and hit them and sue. The requirements are to keep the ROW clear and safe for the traveling public. Just common sense...

Anonymous said...

If you are that paranoid, just don't drive anymore. A part might fall off an airplane and hit your car, you swerve and hit a mailbox, then what.

PS Do you have any statistics on deaths caused by hitting mailboxes?

Anonymous said...

Not paranoid just saying the way the law is looked at. I have the right to drive and feel safe.

BTW.. If it falls off the plane I will be rich or my family will be. A placement of a mailbox is simple but most never think about the driver just the lazy postal service drops.

If you like to search the net I am sure you can find all you want on people who hit mailboxs and end up dead becuase they are not break away.