Speeding in Farragut dominated talk from residents living on and near Everett and Union roads while Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen held a workshop on improvements to Union Road.
Several residents said during the workshop, which was held before the Board’s meeting Thursday, July 27, that they do not want the speeding problem on Union Road that Everett Road has. They want a different design for Union Road and they said they want more traffic enforcement.
“It’s become very obvious that we have a huge elephant in the room, and that elephant is speeding,” Mayor Ralph McGill said as the meeting neared an end. “We have got to get something done about the speeders in this Town. We are going to kill people if we don’t start doing something about it. So, put on your thinking caps. What can we do?”
Alderman Louise Povlin proposed holding a public meeting to get the community involved, adding that meeting should be solution-oriented.
“There are a lot of people upset about speeding in their communities,” she said.
“We’ve got a racetrack is what we’ve got,” Harry Tucker, whose property backs up to Everett Road, said during the workshop. “And, these young kids, when they turn off Smith Road, they accelerate through their gears with their loud mufflers.
“The thing I feel is wrong with the approach we’ve had in the past is the road is just sterile,” Tucker added. “We used to have a country lane with trees over it, and it slowed you down. Now [Everett Road] is wide open.”
Tucker also said he thinks the proposals for Union Road are an improvement.
“I think we are on the right track,” Tucker said, though adding, “We need something to slow people down.”
Scott Meyer, one of the board officers of Fox Run subdivision homeowners association, said he would like to see Union Road’s lane widths be kept narrow.
“We believe it’s common sense that the wider the lanes, the
more invitation it is to speed,” he added.
Povlin presented a written statement about safety on Union Road.
“To date the board has heard from about 92 residents, the vast majority of whom support a safer, not faster, design,” she stated. “My contention is that it is not enough to provide pedestrian facilities. If we do not design our streets to embrace a pedestrian-friendly attitude, we have failed in the goal to be a walkable community.
“To be a walkable community, guiding authorities in road design indicate that we should be designing our streets such that vehicles travel at speeds between 25 and 35 mph,” she further stated. “The proposed design for Union Road is two 12-foot lanes, curb and gutter adding up to 29 feet of roadway with a design speed of 40 mph and a posted speed of 35 mph.
“This is the design cross section and design speed for Everett Road. This design recommendation is inappropriate for Union Road. The 85th percentile for the improved portion of Everett Road is 44 mph.”
Speaking at the meeting, Povlin said, “With Union Road situated a block off Kingston Pike, we do not need another high-speed thoroughfare to accommodate traffic. Further, the wide expanse of pavement will serve to obliterate any country charm Union Road has to offer.”