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Ellen Eldridge Posted by on December 23, 2015.

Councilman wants circles, not roundabouts, to calm speeds

 

John Heneghanm

John Heneghanm

Dunwoody Councilman John Heneghan says he wants drivers to slow down.

In a recent blog he advocated for “neighborhood traffic circles,” which, he said, are usually found where residential streets intersect and are different than roundabouts.

The blog went up Dec. 14, shortly before the City Council met to discuss the city’s traffic calming policy, which was written in 2009 to establish criteria for installing different measures to slow traffic, Public Works Director Michael Smith wrote in a memo.

Heneghan asked city staff to review the policy and add discussion to the agenda in part because residents say they want city officials to do something about speeding along North Peachtree Road, where the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour.

“I am under the belief that something needs to be done to cut down the speeding on North Peachtree, but the state has tied our hands on reasonable enforcement, and our own traffic calming policy appears to be too onerous for implementation, therefore I am hopeful that something will change soon,” Heneghan wrote.

State law bars police from using radar to enforce speed limits where a steep hill slopes, “no matter what the speed,” Heneghan wrote.

“The 25-mile-per-hour speed limit on North Peachtree is actually allowing 35 miles per hour de facto before any enforcement can be done,” Heneghan said during the council meeting.

Officer Trey Nelson, a spokesman for the Dunwoody Police Department, said the department may set up speed trailers to inform drivers of their speeds on North Peachtree Road. The devices, which show a car’s speed in large numbers, most recently were set up on North Peachtree in April, Nelson said.

Recent analysis of speeds on North Peachtree showed 15 percent of the cars were going more than 11 miles per hour over the speed limit, Smith said. That would qualify the street for traffic calming devices, such as speed humps, splitter islands and roundabouts. Smith said traffic circles are one form of traffic calming, but they required wide streets.

Councilwoman Lynn Deutsch questioned why the neighbors along North Peachtree Road aren’t pursuing more traffic calming. “You have to get buy-in from the neighbors,” she said.

Sixty-five percent of the residents have to agree to support traffic calming measures, the city said.