To curb neighborhood traffic in the fallout of the I-85 closure, the Atlanta Department of Public Works has installed “no thru traffic” signs on neighborhood and side streets. The city wouldn’t say whether the signs are being enforced by police.
A city spokesperson said they were installed in direct response to the increased traffic on surface streets following the I-85 collapse and they will “likely” be removed when repairs on the bridge are completed.
The signs have been met with mixed reactions from commuters and residents. Alex Wan, the District 6 councilmember, said he has heard both support and opposition to the signs from his constituents.
“Some are upset that they went up and are confused about who they are intended to apply to,” Wan, whose district covers areas in Buckhead where the signs were installed, said.
Others think the signs send an unwelcoming message from the community, he said, but some are supportive of them and think they are necessary.
The signs were printed with “during the I-85 closure” at the bottom, but the city said that was printed by mistake and that text has been covered with white tape.
“Some signs were printed with erroneous text and the city worked to correct those signs as quickly as possible,” a city spokesperson said.
The city has said its motivation for placing the signs is to keep roads clear for emergency vehicles and to protect roads not designed to handle the amount of traffic they are now getting.
But the signs don’t seem to be placed in locations that need them, Wan said, and the Department of Public Works didn’t consult his district before installing the signs.
“It wasn’t clear to me what the strategy was,” he said.
Some residents and commuters were unsure if the signs were placed by the city or by residents of the neighborhoods that have been frustrated by large increases in traffic.
Traffic congestion has increased so much that it is hard for some residents to leave their neighborhoods, Wan said, but the signs are not the way he would choose to solve the problem. Wan said his focus is not on restricting access to roads, but rather to make sure they are safe by focusing on reducing speeding and reckless driving.
The city press office wouldn’t answer a question about whether or not the signs are being enforced.