By John Schaffner
The speed limit on Wieuca Road may soon be raised from 25 to 30 mph in a move that will allow Atlanta police to nab speeders.
Atlanta City Councilman Howard Shook, who represents the northeast Atlanta district in Buckhead, has introduced an ordinance in council to raise the speed limit with hopes of having the change in effect before the new Sarah Smith School complex opens on Wieuca in January.
The reason for raising the speed limit is that the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) will not issue a permit to use radar or laser devices to enforce the present 25 mph speed limit because the department says that limit is inappropriately too slow for the road.
Shook said GDOT has indicated that if the city modifies the speed limit on Wieuca, police will be allowed to use the speed-detecting devises to control speeds along 1.8 miles of the road from Phipps Plaza to Roswell Road.
Because police cannot properly enforce the speed limit, the average speed vehicles currently are traveling on Wieuca is 37 mph.
Bennett Wiggins, a resident who lives along Wieuca Road, claims raising the speed limit will not slow traffic, even with round-the-clock enforcement throughout the year. “Raising the speed limit will only make current speeds legal,” he added.
Wiggins said the neighborhood wants traffic to travel slowly, consistent with the 25 mph limit. “The only option that will slow the traffic along Wieuca Road is ‘traffic calming’ to meet GDOT standards for a roadway with a 25 mph speed limit.”
Wiggins said, Shook “has been unwilling to support traffic calming to meet GDOT guidelines for the current speed limit, supporting instead raising the speed limit.”
Gordon Certain, who is president of the North Buckhead Civic Association, said a study underway by his association shows that changing the speed to allow for greater police enforcement is just one step that is needed. He agrees other traffic calming measures also need to be put in place to deal with speeders and make the road safer for pedestrians, including school children.
Certain said his association’s committee is studying such improvements as crosswalks, pedestrian-activated countdown signals and adequate sidewalk networks, along with establishing a school zone that will be located approximately between the GA 400 overpass and Wieuca Trace.
Of course, the speed limit within the school zone would remain 25 mph.