By Amy Wenk
Illegal truck traffic has not ceased on Moores Mill Road, but neither have the voices of discontented residents.
While only about 20 citizens gathered for the Feb. 5 meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit-C (NPU-C), discussion fired up again over truck ordinance enforcement in the Ridgewood Heights neighborhood of Buckhead. Residents are upset that commercial trucks — specifically those which exceed 30 feet, weigh more than 18 tons and have more than six wheels — traverse the stretch of Moores Mill Road between I-75 and Bolton Road despite clear signage that prohibits their use of the residential road.
Lt. Byron Martin of the Atlanta Police Department (APD) returned to discuss the problem and, for the third meeting in a row, NPU-C members called on the APD to issue citations to those who violate the ordinance.
“For some reason, it is not slowing,” said Lt. Martin, adding that patrol of Moores Mill has increased. “Every time someone’s gone out, there have been tickets to write.”
Nonetheless, NPU-C member Robert Warlick reported that the situation on Moores Mill Road seems to be improving.
“[Truck drivers] have finally started going down Collier Road and either going to Chattahoochee Industrial or Marietta Boulevard,” Warlick said. “So we are seeing some reduction. At the same time, I’m not 100 percent sure it’s because of enforcement.”
However, one NPU-C member said West Wesley Road now is seeing an increased amount of truck traffic, with as many as 20 trucks per hour traveling the street between 6:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
“A similar set of problems are starting to arise on West Wesley,” said Eric Ranney, NPU-C chair. “It’s our understanding — we need to confirm — that these same trucks are prohibited on West Wesley. If that’s the case, we will be asking police to enforce and write tickets there.”
The board also discussed with Lt. Martin the possibility of jail time for repeat offenders as the $500 penalty has done little to discourage drivers from taking the restricted route. NPU-C members also suggested revoking building permits for those contractors that continually defied the ordinance.
NPU-C resolved to continue their efforts by further appealing to the Atlanta City Council and the APD. In December, the board passed a resolution reminding both of their obligation to enforce the truck ordinance, which was created in 1998.
“I’ll keep putting this on the agenda every month,” Ranney said. “We will chase it around until we come up with an answer.”
Ranney also urged members to attend the Connect Atlanta Plan workshops that will be held Feb. 11-14 for the Northside and Northwest NPUs, including NPU-A, B, C and D. These interactive sessions kick off a yearlong planning process to develop a citywide transportation plan and allow residents to address specific transportation challenges in their area. The workshops will be held at the Georgia-Pacific Center at 133 Peachtree Street NE. For more information, visit www.connectatlantaplan.com or call (404) 330-6800.
In other business, Leigh Valletti, urban planner senior with the city of Atlanta Department of Planning and Community Development, informed NPU-C of the 14th Street Bridge Improvement Project. The $88.5 million endeavor will tear down and reconstruct the 14th Street Bridge in order to improve traffic congestion. The bridge will close this summer and is expected to reopen by summer 2010. Traffic will be detoured to Northside Drive, 16th Street and 17th Street.
Ranney expressed his disapproval of the detour routes for the project.
“I drive to Midtown every business day,” he said. “The fact that they couldn’t come up with a better plan than a total shutdown of Techwood along 16th street down to 10th makes me firmly believe the contractors are the beneficiaries. The traveling public hasn’t been thought of very much.”
For more information on the 14th Street Improvement Project, visit www.14thstreetbridge.com.