Change in Town’s traffic calming measures: debate on percent of approval needed
In response to residents’ previous pleas and an application for speed bumps on Sonja Drive, which failed, residents along Sonja Drive and other streets with speeding issues can have another chance to get traffic calming measures.
Farragut Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously in its meeting Thursday, May 11, to change its traffic calming policy to eliminate the area not in the speed zone of a road.
Town engineer Darryl Smith said the Town’s traffic calming policy was created in the early 2000s to “provide guidelines for citizens to request traffic-calming measures on streets in the Town’s subdivisions.
“A few weeks ago, you had a workshop discussion about our traffic calming policy and some revisions Vice Mayor (Louise) Povlin had suggested,” he added. “I guess the biggest change is to eliminate the (non-speed zone) area within a subdivision.
“The idea would be the only residents who would be voting for or against traffic calming measures would be only the area that is directly affected by speeding. That sounded like a reasonable request.”
No residents spoke on the matter.
After Alderman Scott Meyer made the motion to approve, Povlin seconded his motion.
However, Alderman Drew Burnette said his “only thoughts to add to this are if we’re just doing the speed zone, they just get the vote — we went back on what percent.” He recommended requiring at least 75 percent
“Something that says, ‘Yes, the majority of people in this affected speed zone all want this.’ I think (the current 51 percent) is way too low,” he added.
“I was going to go in the opposite direction,” Povlin said. “If a simple majority is wanted … that’s how we make our election, 50 plus one. I suggest we do 50 plus one because this is my issue: If they get 65 percent — but get 64 percent or 63 percent … it’s really kind of arbitrary.”
“I think if just 50 percent want it, you’re essentially p---ing off half of the people to make the other half happy,” Burnette countered. “You might as well have not done anything … I think there needs to be a larger gap.”
“Here’s the thing,” Mayor Ron Williams said. “When you say it’s the whole area, you know good and well that you’re going to make (affected area residents) mad by putting it in because they didn’t want it to begin with because it’s a cut-through for them.
“The people that live here are the ones being affected; and you would hope that all of them would want it, but I have never seen any election — including our own — that didn’t go by about 51 percent,” he added. “So, to say you’re going to get 75 or 65, a super majority, I think it puts us back in the position we’re in.
“You know you’re going to have the people who are going to be against it that’s outside of the area.”
Using the Sonja Drive/Admiral Road area as an example, Williams said, “You know you are going to have people on Oran (Road) or that area that cut across, they don’t want it.”
On similar road business, the Board unanimously approved a supplemental request from Urban Engineering Inc. for additional design services to the Sonja Drive sidewalk project to include Admiral Road.
Urban Engineering currently is under contract with the Town to provide consulting and engineering services to design about 2,900 linear feet of sidewalk long Sonja Drive between Admiral Road and Oran Road. Chris Sharp with Urban Engineering presented preliminary designs for the three phases during the Board’s workshop on Feb. 23. At that time, the Board asked Sharp to add a sidewalk along Admiral Road as well, which doubled the length of the sidewalk in the project.
The additional costs are $69,879, which increases the total fee for the project from $58,975 to $128,854.
In other business, the Board voted unanimously to approve:
• Ordinance 23-06, on second reading, that amends the Town’s code to extend the expiration time frame for certain permits and to correct a clerical error by referencing an appropriate section.