The City of Monroe is looking at possibly lowering the speed limits through downtown from 35 mph to 25 mph, largely to improve the safety of pedestrians in the downtown area. The issue was discussed Tuesday at the Monroe City Council meeting.
“A good thing is that in probably the last three to four years there has been an uptick in the amount of pedestrians we see downtown,” said Public Safety Director Keith Glass. “The speeds and amount of traffic passing through is much the same, but one complaint is the tractor trailer traffic. A tractor trailer running at 40 mph is pretty significant.”
With the plans still on track for the bypass to begin in about 2020, the problem of heavy duty traffic will likely be alleviated to a degree by 2021 or 2022. Monroe City Administrator Logan Propes said the Georgia DOT is at the point where they are beginning to acquire right-of-way for the proposed bypass.
“The truck connector project as we call it will pick up at Eunisia Drive and arc back around to Highway 11 south where it will connect at a proposed roundabout,” Propes said. The proposed bypass is a 4.7 mile connector that would begin at Highway 78 and end at the roundabout, allowing large rigs to bypass the congested downtown area.
But in the meantime, there are concerns about the safety of pedestrians shopping in the downtown area.
“I have been in contact with Shane Giles, the district operations manager for the DOT, Logan and our judge and I’ve asked them to look at our speed limits and maybe dropping them from 35 to 25 mph,” Glass said, adding there is increased traffic control by MPD as well as Georgia State Patrol already. “We have just finished some traffic studies and when you look at the average speeds – north Broad is 28 mph and south Broad is 41, west Spring Street is 38 and east Spring Street is 36 mph.”
Glass said the study also indicates the times when most of the traffic is on the higher end.
“We also probably need to have some education time for our pedestrians. Sometimes we forget we need to walk in the pedestrian walkway. Pedestrians do not have right of way in the roadway,” Glass said. “We will probably do a small educational film talking about speed as well – and loud music in downtown. It has become an issue for our downtown folks.
Another issue that has already been addressed, Propes said, was synchronizing of traffic lights and patching dips in the roads that caused buildings to rattle when heavy trucks passed through.