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County wont lower speed limit in Buckhead
Board: Cost of traffic study not justified
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At last month’s meeting of the Bryan County Board of Commissioners, a Richmond Hill resident asked commissioners to consider dropping the speed limit on Rathlin Road in the Buckhead subdivision from 35 mph to 25 mph.

At Tuesday’s meeting in Pembroke, commissioners decided to try and find a way to better enforce the current speed limit.

The no-decision followed a lengthy discussion of a number of options presented by County Administrator Ray Pittman. In the end, the board opted for an informal approach.

“I know a guy in the (Georgia) State Patrol, I’ll ask him about it,” said Commissioner Carter Infinger, whose district encompasses

Buckhead and who initially suggested dropping the speed limit to 30 mph along a portion of Rathlin Road and asking county deputies to step up enforcement there.

That led District 3 Commissioner Steve Myers to joke, “And then we only upset a fourth of the people who live in that subdivision.”

Infinger responded: “Hey, we usually upset about 50 percent of the people there.”

Joking aside, commissioners looked at everything from dropping the speed limit to 25 mph as suggested by resident Andrew Jones to more rigorous enforcement of the 35 mph limit.

They also discussed conducting a traffic study before doing anything, which state law says is necessary to change a speed limit.

But commissioners balked at the idea of a study after Pittman said one could cost anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000, which prompted a question from Chairman Jimmy Burnsed.

“And we’re going to do a traffic study to reduce (the limit) 5 mph?” he asked.

Despite the lack of formal action, commissioners agreed there is a problem on Rathlin Road.

“I’d like to give this guy (Jones) some relief,” Myers said. “I went out and looked at it, and it’s a problem. But I can’t see spending $5,000.”

It’s also mainly a problem of Buckhead residents driving too fast on Rathlin, which connects both Buckhead and Buckhead South subdivisions to Highway 144.

An email to noted Infinger and Pittman from a Buckhead resident opposed to lowering the speed limit on Rathlin said recent accidents were a result of speed limits not being enforced, not the speed limit itself.

Infinger said he spoke to deputies about the problem, as well.

“I talked to deputies who said they stopped 10 people going anywhere from 40- to 50-something mph there and only one person they stopped lived outside the neighborhood,” he said. “So, it’s the neighbors that are speeding.”

Commissioners also seemed leery of setting precedent by ordering a study — “or every neighborhood in the county will want a speed study,” Infinger said.

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