Two residents of Cash Road in Barrow County contend that speeding on the road is a threat to their family, and their ire led one of them to utter an expletive at the county Board of Commissioners last week.
Married couple Doug and Pam Brewer addressed commissioners during a public comment session at the Jan. 24 meeting and implored the county to install speed bumps along the residential areas of the small road between Atlanta Highway and Pleasant Hill Church Road west of Statham.
The Brewers say that hundreds of drivers per day travel along the road at higher speeds than the 25 mile-per-hour limit in place.
Pam Brewer became increasingly emotional during her comments, saying that she was fearful of backing out of her driveway and being hit by speeding cars rounding the blind curve at the top of a hill near her home at higher speeds.
At one point, she pounded the lectern with her first and yelled, “I’m tired of being damn nice.”
After her allotted time to speak had expired, she walked away, turned back around and shouted, “F*** y’all” to the board before exiting the chambers.
Doug Brewer addressed commissioners prior to his wife and said he has tried “for eight years to get you all to stop people from flying up and down this road.”
Installing speed bumps “is a one-day project,” he said. “Does it take someone on this road getting killed and this county getting sued before we do something? These (drivers) do not care. You try to talk to them, and they shoot you birds. They cuss at you.
“Do people not care about people anymore?”
While there have been no accidents on Cash Road recorded on file, the county’s engineering office has installed warning signs near the residential area of the road.
County manager Mike Renshaw said last week he visited with the Brewers about three months ago and directed county public works and engineering staff to conduct a traffic study of the road.
Commissioners voted in 2006 to prohibit the use and installation of speed bumps on county-maintained roads.
They based their decision on research indicating that speed humps would be costly to install and maintain and that there were more cost-effective ways to improve traffic safety on roads.
Instead, Renshaw said, the county is proposing to install a series of thermoplastic rumble strips in an effort to raise motorists’ awareness of the 25 mile-per-hour speed limit.
“Our engineering office has had great success recently installing (the strips) along similar road segments, significantly and safely reducing vehicle speeds,” Renshaw said. “There is an abundance of research studies that disputes the effectiveness of speed humps as a general traffic calming strategy.”
Media reports around the U.S. in recent years have suggested that in addition to the installation and maintenance costs associated with speed bumps, they could also interfere with emergency vehicle response times, lead to a reduction in property values and increase the wear and tear on residential and commercial vehicles.
But Doug Brewer doubts that rumble strips will have that much of an effect on drivers’ behavior.
“They are not going to help,” he said. “If people tear up their car going fast over speed bumps, that’s their fault. The county should not have to pay for it. But I would appreciate my family being protected.”
Commissioner Joe Goodman, who has visited the spot of concern and was addressed directly by the Brewers at last week’s meeting, acknowledged the situation is serious.
“It’s a dangerous, blind curve. There’s no other way to sort it,” Goodman said. “But there are things from us that prohibit doing radar detection out there and we have the resolution in place that doesn’t allow for speed bumps. We’re exploring all the options available to us. I know it’s been longer than it should have been, but we’ve had personnel changes, a new county manager come in, a new public works director come in. This should have been addressed sooner, but it’s not for a lack of trying. We’ve tried to do this right, but our hands are tied a little due to policy.”
As to whether the county should reconsider its previous decision to outlaw speed bumps, Goodman said that should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
“It’s difficult to warrant one for one or two people, but at the same time, if it’s a better safety aspect, it’s worth looking at,” he said. “Still, there are standards that have to be met. You certainly don’t want to put one on a blind curve where someone can come around the curve, hit one and get seriously hurt.
“Loss of life or anyone getting hurt is unacceptable, no matter which side you fall on.”
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