Decatur Commission approves speed tables for Westchester Hills

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt July 7, 2015
A slide from a presentation about traffic in the Westchester Hills Neighborhood. Source: City of Decatur

A slide from a presentation about traffic in the Westchester Hills Neighborhood. Source: City of Decatur

Residents living in Decatur’s Westchester Hills neighborhood have convinced the City Commission to install speed tables along a busy street.

According to a memo attached to the July 6 meeting agenda, traffic studies show a high volume of vehicles traveling along Harold Byrd Drive and Maediris Drive.

“Traffic studies conducted in late April and early May show that most vehicles are traveling well below the 30 mph speed limit on Harold Byrd Drive and Maediris Drive,” the memo says. “The 85th percentile speed for Harold Byrd was 24 mph, and Maediris was 27 mph. However, the volume of traffic is heavy for a local street. The weekday peak traffic on Harold Byrd Drive was 2,290 vehicles, and 4,300 vehicles for Maediris Drive.”

Commissioners agreed to install two speed tables on Harold Byrd Drive, spaced 175 feet from each intersection and spaced 300 feet apart from each other.

The city’s Traffic Calming Team did not support adding the speed tables.

“The members concluded that vehicles speeds are within reasonable limits and tables would likely not significantly deter vehicle traffic,” the memo says. “Concerns also exist about creating impediments for emergency service vehicles. The team believes the issue of speed tables could be re-visited at a later date once other improvements are in place.”

The City Commission disagreed.

“We’ve got to do something there,” Mayor Jim Baskett said. “It’s a ridiculous amount of traffic.”

Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon said each speed table will cost $4,000. He said the work will be part of the city’s annual paving project.

Read more: The full presentation on traffic calming in the Westchester Hills neighborhood. 

Memo_Westchester Hills Traffic Calming

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  • Andrew

    I know the Mayor’s comment likely falls short of his complete thoughts on the matter but it should be pointed out that if speeds are in line, the only purpose of the speed tables is to deter use of the streets. Yes, this lessens the “ridiculous” amount of traffic in that neighborhood but it does not make the traffic disappear. It simply pushes it to the intersection of Clairemont and Scott. For other Decaturites already none too thrilled with the current state of those two streets, this serve only to make them marginally worse.

    Distributed traffic does present some challenges in neighborhoods (though it seems like most of it is behaving safely), it’s still ultimately better than concentrated traffic. More people lose in this transaction than win.

  • Guide

    $4000 for “discouragement” tables because (12) neighbors don’t want people using “their” public streets? The report shows there is no a speed problem to fix.

    “We’ve got to do something there,” Mayor Jim Baskett said. “It’s a ridiculous amount of traffic.” – Like what Jim? Move?? Welcome to Decatur… We have traffic.

    And this proposal makes it worse for everyone whilst wasting badly needed road maintenance funds, and IGNORING the traffic calming teams recommendations.

    Mayor Basket, if we can waste time and money on a feel-good political non-solution… why then can’t COD get the giant potholes on my street filled in. No traffic study or petitions are even necessary.

    Silly road humps aren’t going to keep anyone from using Westchester and Harold to avoid the Scott-Clairemont intersection. In fact it might even encourage some other drivers to discover and use this shortcut when the Scott-Clairemont intersections gets even more congested which the intent.

  • Blackcatprowliii

    So much for public roads, science or good design… Unfriendly, undemocratic. I will be voting for someone else.

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