Monday, October 8, 2012

Is it time to consider lowering the Speed Limit on several Dunwoody streets?

After reading many e-mails, talking to a number of people regarding pedestrian safety, and having written 45 prior articles on speeding, I have come to the conclusion that the City of Dunwoody needs to consider lowering the speed limit on four heavily traveled residential roads.

It just so happens that these four roads directly serve seven of our nine educational facilities where we also have the most pedestrians, the highest traffic congestion during peek hours and numerous variable of speed limit changes from posted speed to school zone speed limits.

Roadway From To
North Peachtree Road Tilly Mill Road Interstate 285
Roberts Drive Chamblee-Dunwoody Road  Fulton County Line
Vermack Road Chamblee-Dunwoody Road Mount Vernon Road
Womack Road Tilly Mill Road Chamblee-Dunwoody Road

Sunday night I attended the monthly Dunwoody Homeowners Association (1st Sunday of Month, 7:30 room 4 of the Cultural Center) where the City of Dunwoody Public Works Director, Mr. Michael Smith discussed the Tilly Mill / Peeler / N. Peachtree & Womack / Vermack plans.  During the discussion he stated that lowering the speeds on residential streets such as Womack could be done with State DOT approval.

One of the points he raised against the State allowing such a change was the thought that we might be doing this for revenue purposes (speed trap) and that is not the case. These are residential streets with single family homes on each side, many of whom have extensive school traffic that we also need to get under control. The City Budget committee, which I serve on, has recommended a possible expansion of the radar speed limit signs and I proposed this evening in an email to Council that these four streets be outfitted with the additional signs in order to prove to the state that we take vehicular speed very seriously and have put our own non-punitive measures into place.

I believe a lowering of the speed limit to a consistent 25 mph on these streets could have a calming effect on the drivers who crisscross our community.

This evening when I got home I sent an email to Mr. Smith requesting that he do research on the subject and that it be brought before Council in the future for discussion on possible future steps.

If you are pro of con of this idea I would be happy to hear your thoughts and I promise that there will be a public hearing regarding this subject before any change is finalized.



SDOC Publishing Internet Solutions said...

Lightbulb moment....
Since we know that the people who come to Dunwoody every day for school or work want to get the fastest route out of town when leaving, can the city adjust the speed limits to reduce speeds on roads we'd prefer that traffic not take, and maintain 35 (or higher?) on streets we want that population to use?

Paula Caldarella said...

John, your chart indicates that Ashford Center Parkway is 35mph. I am fairly certain (as I drive that stretch of road almost daily) that it is 25 mph. I have also been curious as to why that stretch of road is 4 lanes @ 25 mph and Peeler Road (between N. Peachtree and Chamblee-Dunwoody, on which actual houses reside, is 35 mph (well, if anyone actually 35, that is)?

Unknown said...


Not until the Dunwoody PD starts enforcing the limits already in place. For example, Dunwoody Parkway or the "forgotten" stretch of Chamblee Dunwoody.

Mark said...

I tend to ride within a few miles per hour to either side of the speed limit, including stopping for pedestrians, slowing for school zones when appropriate, and slowing for construction. Many of my fellow travelers respond to this by trying to go around me, or honking
their horns when I try to respect the right of way for pedestrians or school buses unloading students. I am frequently tailgated when riding in and around Dunwoody with its present speed limits. I see that enforcement for moving violations is much more vigorous than it was prior to incorporation, but it remains insufficient for the amount of violations I encounter on a daily basis. I still send Billy the odd email cheering for the sirens and stops I hear & see around the city. Everyone is in a hurry, plans poorly, and they seem to expect everyone else to slow down, but not them. On a few occasions, I've put myself into the path of a fellow traveler trying to get around me when I've stopped for pedestrians they either do not see, or not think as important as themselves.

Personally, I would not be bothered by slower speed limits, but it is apparent from my observations that the current limits are too low for many with whom we share Dunwoody's roads. Many, if not most of these folks live in Dunwoody, so blaming those who pass through will not pass muster with me. I see where they come from and go since I prefer to travel surface streets and neighborhoods on my two wheels, and I am on the roads throughout the day, not just during rush hours. One of my regular entertainments during the thirteen years I've lived on Valley View Road has been watching speeding cars from my kitchen window or front yard. The speed bumps deter some but not all, as I've watched many a vehicle briefly go airborne. Once or twice, I've seen a car disabled from such stunt driving, and more often, sparks as they bottom out on the pavement.

I do not advocate higher speed limits, especially given the number of highly distracted drivers I see each day. Most already treat our speed limits as mere suggestions. I fear the same outcome if you lower the speed limits, but for me, it will only mean a potential, slight increase in tailgating incidents. You've said many times that you prefer data to anecdote and innuendo when considering change. I have trusted you and continue to do so. This subject is one I know more about than other things, such as zoning or business rules. If I can help in some way, please do not hesitate to let me know.

John Heneghan said...

Wow, I think I hit a nerve as there are good comments here and in my inbox on both sides of the issue. Thank you.

Mom, you are correct on Ashford Center Parkway being 25 mph (we corrected this table and I must have pulled the old one). That street, though being four lanes is posted at 25 mph because of the curves and probably sight lines on the street.

GaryRayBetz said...

So, if this lowering of the speed limit is enacted, what will the good counselor do about his wife? Have his mechanic install a governor on her throttle?

John Heneghan said...

Gary, you know my wife oh too well. She already uses the Cruise Control driving down the hills of North Peachtree Road in Kingsley.

Mike Smith said...

I say lower all the speeds by 5 mph and those highlighted by 10 mph.

Daughter of the Poet said...

The Waking

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

- Theodore Roethke

Unknown said...

I think the current limits are ok & should be enforced. The school zone limit should be 20 mph and strictly enforced. Also extend them further.

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