Photo by Lexi Coon.
Richard Caudle with Skipper Consulting presents his findings from the traffic study on Kennesaw Drive during the council meeting on March 13.
In response to many community members’ recent concerns regarding traffic speeds along on Kennesaw Drive, Richard Caudle with Skipper Consultants presented recent traffic study findings to a largely attended city council during the meeting on March 13.
Caudle, together with the Mountain Brook Police Department, measured speed and traffic volumes along the road as well as on the roadways. In his report, Caudle stated that speeds within the school zone for Cherokee Bend Elementary School along Kennesaw Drive were “excessive as compared to the posted travel speed of 15 miles per hour”; traffic from commuters driving westbound on Kennesaw during morning peak hours “Is not traveling at a speed compatible with the school zone”; and parking that occurs along the southern edge of Kennesaw Drive affects sight distance and restricts the width of travel lanes.
To remedy his findings, Caudle suggested expanding the current school zone, enforcing speed limits and parking restrictions and adding a multi-way stop at Kennesaw Drive and Fair Oaks Drive.
Residents at the meeting expressed no issue with expanding the school zone, but many were against adding a stop sign for fear of creating additional response time for first responders and possible medical professionals in the area as well as creating additional traffic along Kennesaw and neighboring roads.
To assist with traffic in that area, a crossing guard was recently added to the Cherokee Bend school zone. Both council members Alice Womack and Billy Pritchard asked if the permanence of a guard could mitigate the need for a stop sign, to which Caudle replied yes, if a crossing guard was present when necessary and it was a sustainable position, the need for a stop sign could cease.
Parents and community members continued to ask details regarding the potential crossing guard, such as when the crossing guard would be present and how the school and city would guarantee his or her presence. Pritchard stated he would be in touch with the Board of Education to discuss details the following day.
Caudle also emphasized the need for more speeding and parking enforcement along the road to hold drivers accountable to the posted signs. Police Chief Ted Cook said that as of recently, the department has hired an officer who would be able to patrol the area on scooter. The additional officer would add to presence along Kennesaw Drive and would limit the amount of cars that could block the road during a stop while increasing parking and speeding enforcement, Cook said.
At the end of the public discussion, council members approved the expansion of the school zone. Council members also agreed to take the necessary administrative action with the Board of Education and Cherokee Bend to determine the details of a more permanent crossing guard in lieu of adding a stop sign to the road. If need be, the addition of a stop sign could be revisited in the future.
Also during the meeting on March 13, council members:
- Approved the minutes from the meeting on Feb. 27.
- Discussed changes to the name, duties and number of members of the Tree Commission.
- Discussed a proposed use change at Cahaba Village under which Bayer Properties would sign an agreement to lease a space to American Family Care.
- Approved a contract with Schoel Engineering to for investigating additional work for the bridge over Shades Creek in Jemison Park.
- Approved a resolution authorizing the election of a contractor agreement between the city and Construction Services Group, LLC with respect to the installation of hydration stations at the athletic complex.
- Approved a resolution appointing Construction Services Group, LLC as purchasing agent of the city with respect to the aforementioned hydration station project.
- Approved a resolution authorizing the execution of a professional services contract between the city and Rob Walker Architects with respect to the design of the aforementioned hydration station project.
- Approved a resolution recommending to the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the issuances of an 011 – Lounge Retail Liquor – Class 1 license to R and R Liquor, LLC located at 81 Church Street, Suite 102.
- Approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of a permit pursuant to Ordinance No. 1948 with respect to the installation of a new support structures for small cell data and communications antenna within the public right-of-way in the vicinity of Shiloh Drive.
- Approved the mayoral appointment of Rob Walker to the planning commission.
The next council meeting will take place on March 27.