Knightdale gathers speeding data at request of residents

mhankerson@newsobserver.comJanuary 16, 2014 

The Town of Knightdale has been monitoring traffic speeds near the entry of the Emerald Pointe neighborhood at the request of neighborhood residents.

MECHELLE HANKERSON — mhankerson@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

— Speed demons beware.

Knightdale has started gathering data in one neighborhood to see just how fast drivers are going after a resident asked the town to consider lowering a neighborhood speed limit.

In November, Butch Dyer, the president of the Emerald Pointe Homeowner’s Association asked Town Council to reduce the speed limit in the neighborhood from 25 mph to 15 mph. Dyer’s request was sent to the Public Safety committee for consideration.

Committee members started looking at the possibility of reducing the speed limit on Aqua Marine Lane, the main road running through the Emerald Pointe neighborhood.

The first step was to find out just how fast drivers were going.

The town collected data at the entry of the neighborhood and found that about 85 percent of drivers were going 35 mph and under. Only 15 percent were clocked driving faster than 35 mph, 10 mph above the posted speed limit.

At last week’s Planning and Engineering committee meeting, members discussed with Dyer the possibility of putting more signage on Aqua Marine Lane.

Town engineer Fred Boone said the two signs on the street meet the standard, “but this just happens to be a long road.”

Right now, the town’s data collection is for research purposes and doesn’t serve to find a solution to the problem.

“We’re trying to provide as much of a controlled experiment as possible,” Boone said.

Committee members said they would be open to studying more points in the road, but they’re not sure of the logistics of that yet.

“We’ve never really studied how these things work,” committee chairman Dustin Tripp said in the meeting. “We’re using this as a baseline.”

Dyer, though, told the committee he was more interested in seeing something done to help curb motorists’ speeding.

Several years ago, Dyer helped get speed bumps put in the neighborhood. He suggested lowering the whole neighborhood’s speed limit to 15 mph, but Boone said doing that may only make the problem seem worse.

“If you have folks not paying attention to 25 mph, they aren’t going to pay attention to 15 mph,” he said.

With the data, town staff said police will start monitoring areas of concern more often, but Dyer said that may not be enough.

“Our goal (is) to slow these people down because we can’t have a car out there all the time,” he said. He suggested using an unmarked patrol car or an unoccupied car as a speeding deterrent.

The committee didn’t make any final decision about what to do to immediately handle the problem. If the committee decides to lower the speed limit, it would need council approval. For other initiatives, like using an unmarked or unoccupied police car, the committee can coordinate with the police department and it wouldn’t require council approval.

Hankerson: 919-829-4826; Twitter: @easternwakenews

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