By John Schaffner
Finding a solution to slowing traffic on Powers Ferry Road along Chastain Park once again became a topic for discussion at the April 26 annual meeting of the Chastain Park Civic Association.
Taking advantage of having both the Dist. 8 City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean and Council President Ceasar Mitchell at their meeting, residents declared the high-speed driving along the street where pedestrians by the hundreds jog, walk and exercise their dogs “the source of a potential disaster.”
Most in the audience seemed to agree “it is an issue that must be addressed,” one resident said.
Association President Jim King said that about a year ago one resident pointed out that “one car could wipe out about 10 people on the sidewalk if it left the road. We all know that probably the biggest safety hazard remaining in the neighborhood is Powers Ferry Road right there.”
One resident offered that Powers Ferry Road is very wide, “and it is easy to go fast down that road. If we just narrow that road and put a wider sidewalk in and a guard rail—a nice wooden one—it would be safe for pedestrians and slow down traffic.”
King said he and others have been looking into Department of Transportation-grade wooden guard rails for the sidewalk, which is only about four feet wide. “The question is, if you go to 10-foot lanes and then you want to widen the sidewalks, there is just enough room to do it on the golf course side.”
King said the traffic engineer for the city has already agreed to restripe Powers Ferry to 10-foot lanes. He said that and West Wieuca are the two worst traffic problems in the neighborhood right now.
Adrean said study shows that drivers do go slower when their field of vision is narrowed. She said it is part of the master plan.
Mitchell suggested that perhaps working with the police that patrol the area “we can help modify the behavior of the drivers,” which drew a little laughter.
It was pointed out that stop signs were put in on Lake Forrest Drive, “which gets less traffic but not on Powers Ferry.”
“In order to get a stop sign, you really do have to do an analysis of the safety issues that might be raised by putting the stop sign there,” Mitchell answered. “But that can happen. We can ask the department to look at that issue.”
One resident asked if the civic association could get one of the blinking radar signs that shows drivers the speed at which they are traveling. King said the association is working on that.
Another resident complained that the bike lane is only about a foot wide and should be about three feet wide. “If you narrow the road, can you put some of it into the bicycle lane?” she asked.
King responded that there is not enough room to widen the sidewalk and widen the bike lane without expanding into the golf course property.