Cobb BOC approves new process for traffic calming measures

A speeding car on a residential street

By Caleb Groves

Cobb approved a new approach and an expanded toolkit to calm traffic at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting on May 28, 2024.

The new traffic calming policy provides Cobb residents with new ways to address speeding throughout the county by way of request, which kicks off a series of steps from traffic studies petitions to eventually BOC approval.

After the request, the area will be studied, ensuring that the area passes the criteria for speed limits, prevailing speed and length of the roadway. Following the study, a petition must be approved by 65% of residents in the affected area before being brought to the BOC, Department of Transportation Director Drew Raessler said.

“As we routinely receive requests to address concerns about speeding and other safety issues from communities,” Raessler said. “To address these concerns, the department has developed a traffic calming policy to assist with the review, recommendation and implementation of traffic calming strategies.”

As it stands today, the county has a couple of tools for tackling traffic concerns, speed humps and dynamic speed display signs, which display the speed of your vehicle in real-time as you drive toward the sign, he said.

To expand upon these traffic calming tools, Cobb DOT looked toward outside resources for inspiration, Raessler said. A few of the new traffic calming measures include raised intersections and crosswalks, roundabouts and median islands.

While the toolkit has expanded, the speed-calming implementation process remains relatively unchanged. The largest change lowers the bar for maximum speed above the speed limit.

“Currently, a neighborhood that is a 25 mph speed limit requires that the prevailing speed or the 85th percentile speed, the speed at which 85% of vehicles are at or below, be 35 mph,” Raessler said. “So significantly above that speed limit, 10 mph over. So, what this policy does is it drops that limit to 32 mph, that once speed crosses that threshold, it is then eligible to go through the petition process.”

The BOC unanimously approved the new policy.

“We have a lot of communities that requested options and I think that this helps expand some of those opportunities for those communities that have specifically requested for speeding to be attenuated,” Commissioner Jerica Richardson said.