‘Slow down’

BOMA ponders update to calming

Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen is considering updating its traffic calming policy to allow more streets to have traffic calming measures.

Peterson and East Kingsgate roads, Midhurst and Sonja drives, as well as part of Union Road, gained the attention of the Town’s Engineering staff and the Board, while the Board discussed the policy during a workshop just prior to its regular meeting Thursday, Oct. 11.

Over the past years, “we have received a lot of citizen requests for local collector (streets) with speeding issues (to have traffic-calming applications),” Deputy Town engineer Matt Brazille said. “The one highlighted in my time (with the Engineering Department) is Peterson Road.”

Brazille said he looked at traffic-calming policies for other municipalities similar to Farragut to see what they are doing and what has changed since 2008. He found other towns/cities are considering adding local collector streets as eligible for traffic-calming application process.

The traffic-calming policy is “one of the ways we try to reduce speeding complaints in the neighborhoods … and try to figure out ways to slow people down,” Town administrator David Smoak said, adding the staff is looking for feedback on proposed changes.

“Certainly, we need to have this back on a future agenda for the Board to vote on,” he added.

Vice Mayor Louise Povlin pointed out some of the local collector streets, such as Union, Admiral Road, Newport Road and Sonja Drive, are being used as “cut-through” roads, adding, “I would like to expand (the parameters).”

“Our current policy was adopted by the Board in 2008 and has not been updated since,” Brazille said. “The current policy only allows for local neighborhood streets to be eligible for traffic-calming.”

Local collector, major collector, minor arterial and major arterial roads are not eligible for traffic-calming applications under the current policy, he added. “The current policy is basically set up where (a homeowners association) or a group of residents within a neighborhood that does not have an established HOA can come to the Town, submit an application stating they feel there is a speeding issue within their neighborhood and they would like the issue looked at.”

When the Engineering Department receives such a request, it collects speed data on the road.

“Traffic engineers look at the 85th percentile of speed, which is basically the speed of which 85 percent of drivers drive at or below.

“Currently, all of our neighborhood streets have a speed limit of 25,” he said, adding, typically, if the 85th percentile speed is 10 miles per hour or less over the posted speed limit, the engineers do not recommend traffic calming applications because “you’re not going to see that much of a reduction.”

However, if the speed study shows motorists are driving 35 miles per hour or over, then a team – consisting of Engineering Department members and three to five citizens the area of concern — is formed, he said.

The team would recommend suggested traffic-calming applications to Smoak, and citizens of a given neighborhood vote those applications on.

Sixty-five percent of the “people who drive through the affected area” have to vote in favor of the traffic-calming applications,” Brazille said, adding, “It’s not the folks who live along that area; it’s the folks who drive along that area as well.”

After the 65-percent vote is cast, the matter goes to the Board for approval, he said.