Athens adopts new measures to calm traffic, improve safety

Athens adopts new measures to calm traffic, improve safety

ATHENS, Ala. - Residents at a town hall meeting and our news partners at the Decatur Daily were told Tuesday about a new traffic-calming program in Athens designed to reduce speeding and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists,

Mayor Ronnie Marks said the measure adopted this week allows the police chief to authorize a number of devices including rumble strips, lane narrowing areas, pedestrian islands and speed dips. The new policy also allows for raised pedestrian crossings and even allowing parking on one or both sides of a street to reduce the number of driving lanes.

Marks discussed the program at the District 3 town hall meeting at the Pincham-Lincoln Center, where residents addressed issues in the Hine Street area that included getting their streets paved and ridding areas of illegal activity. District 3 Councilman Frank Travis and Police Chief Floyd Johnson joined Marks at the meeting attended by about 70 residents.

The street-calming program includes public involvement. Marks said the approval of 80% of the homeowners of a subdivision or development is needed before any traffic-calming features are put in place.

It allows residents to work with the Police Department to “figure out what’s best in the neighborhood,” Travis said.

One Hine Street resident complained that some motorists travel that road at speeds reaching 60 to 75 mph as early as 5 a.m., despite the 30 mph speed limit posted on three signs along the road.

“It’s not just people in that neighborhood,” said Dorrine McLin. “Something needs to change, something needs to change quickly.”

According to the policy, traffic-calming will only be considered on residential streets with a 24-hour traffic volume between 300 and 3,000 vehicles. Any request for speed enforcement or traffic-calming must be made in writing to the police chief.

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