Strong exchanges on St. John Court traffic calming

Residents living along and near St. John Court, off Grigsby Chapel Road, listened to a solution Town of Farragut’s Engineering Department offered for traffic calming along this street during a public meeting in Farragut Town Hall Wednesday, Dec. 8 — but discussion was anything but calm as the meeting progressed.

“The Town of Farragut failed this process,” said one resident, who declined to be identified, eliciting gasps from Town officials, who offered speed cushions as a solution.

“If there is an issue with this policy, all we can do is go forward and change it,” said Vice Mayor Louise Povlin, who also sits on Farragut Municpal Planning Commission.

“I’m just a resident just like you. I’m volunteering my time.”

“This affects two of our neighborhoods, and they should have been involved in the process,” said a female resident, who also declined to be identified.

“This is a time for input,” Povlin replied.

“In defense of the Town of Farragut, I think you are doing a great job. I love living in this Town,” another resident said.

“Having the neighborhood for 17 years, I don’t see this drastic speed problem,” said the initially quoted resident, but added he did see a problem at a dip on St. John Court.

“The process (for determining the cushions) is so questionable to me.”

“I see a lot of fast cars, a lot more than 30-40 miles per hour,” a St. John Court resident said. “It’s not just a handful of them.”

In one instance, he said a guy came over the hill, going fairly fast, looking at his phone and “I had to jump out of his way.”

Regarding Berkeley Park, another resident speculated those residents would oppose the cushions because “they are passing through, and they’re having to go over these speed bumps, and they’d just as soon not do it. It’s not affecting their quality of life quite as much.

“I think it’s the most effective solution to slow things down, but it’s also the most impactful to people,” he added. “The rumble strip might be more acceptable to Berkeley Park (residents) and may mitigate it not as effectively, but may mitigate it some.”

“We don’t usually look at rumble strips because they are very loud, and at 3 o’clock in the morning, everything is loud,” Town engineer Darryl Smith said.

“I think you have a very good quality-of-life issue to make to your neighbors in Berkeley Park and Battery that I think you should make to get them on board,” Povlin said.

Brannon Tupper, assistant Town engineer, said the process started with a request Prestwick Place Home Owners Association submitted in January to evaluate traffic along St. John Court.

A speed study followed.

“(We) found that the stretch of St. John Court from St. John Neumann (Catholic Church and School) to O’Connell Drive had excessive speeding,” Tupper said, adding they found at least 15 percent of the cars that cross over the measured area were driving at least 40 miles per hour.

“We met with the requesting HOA residents of Prestwick Place – the traffic team for this application — and are proposing a series of four speed cushions,” he added.

The next phase was public notification.

“This meeting is to review the proposal with Prestwick Place, Berkeley Park, the Battery at Berkeley Park and any other affected residents who have questions or would like to provide comment prior to voting on cards being mailed to the affected area,” Tupper said.

If the residents vote to approve the speed cushions, the project goes to FMPC and Board of Mayor and Aldermen for approval. “If it’s not approved, then it’s not eligible for two years,” Tupper said.