Speed ‘cushions’ are recommended along Midhurst Drive, Red Mill Lane

Kings Gate residents living along Midhurst Drive and Red Mill Lane should be expecting a speed “cushion” on those two roads in the near future.

Farragut Municipal Planning Commission unanimously approved a recommendation to Board of Mayor and Alderman concerning this traffic-calming measure during its meeting Thursday, May 19. Only one resident spoke on the matter, and was in favor of the measure.

“Driving on Midhurst and Red Mill is terrible,” said Eric Johnson, who has lived in this area of Farragut for 46 years and is one of the Town’s founders. “I’ve seen speeding, reckless driving and everything else on those roads.”

Assistant Town engineer Brannon Tupper proposed installing asphalt speed cushions — one at 11508 Midhurst Drive and another at 609 Red Mill Lane.

Tupper said the Town’s on-call roadway maintenance contractor would perform the work “as their schedule permits.”

The speed cushions, 3 inches in height with breaks in them for emergency vehicles to straddle, are estimated to cost about $15,000.

“There probably are speeding problems in the straight-away if you go further west on Midhurst; but since those residents haven’t necessarily applied for speed cushions or any kind of traffic calming in front of their homes, that’s the reason why we’re not looking at it at this time,” Commissioner Noah Myers said.

Tupper agreed, noting while all the locations where speed studies were conducted are eligible, “because there was a mix from residents in the neighborhood as far as supportive and non supportive — we didn’t want to expand all the way down Red Mill and Midhurst.”

The issue first came up when the Town’s Engineering Department received an application for traffic calming measures Feb. 3, 2021.

The location “does have to be residential or a local collector street,” Tupper said.

“In this particular location, we did five studies,” he added.

Staff also conducted studies down Red Mill Lane and up Midhurst Drive.

“All the speeds exceed 35 miles per hour; which 35 miles per hour is the number we use to determine whether or not an application would be eligible based on speeding,” he said.

According to Tupper’s report, speeds ranged from 37 to 42 mph. Staff then held a public meeting March 16, with 15 to 20 residents attending.

Feelings were mixed.

Still, Tupper said of the 190 ballots mailed, 105 ballots were returned from residents in the affected area. Of those ballots returned, 83 percent of the residents in the speed zone voted in favor of the speed cushions while 73 percent from the overall affected area voted in favor.

“We decided, as a traffic team based on public input, was to keep the application local to that speed zone and only go for two traffic-calming speed humps in this situation,” he said. “That was local to the two individuals who requested the traffic calming. They live right there at that intersection of Midhurst and Red Mill.

“One other action out of the public meeting was a request to do a follow-up study after Virtue Road was re-opened,” he added. “It was a perception from some of the residents that, perhaps, people were using Kings Gate as a cut-through while Virtue was closed.

“We did do that follow-up study, and we can report there was no change in speeds … so the location remains eligible.”