Gardenspring speeding solutions discussed in public hearing

Published 12:10 am Thursday, December 20, 2018

By Jim Buice
For the Clemmons Courier

The Clemmons Village Council continued the conversation with residents of Gardenspring Drive in Monday night’s meeting — this time with a public hearing to receive more input on the longtime speeding problem on their street — as the board considers the best path to address traffic-calming measures.

Although the council considered the placement of a three-way stop sign at Gardenspring Drive and Sandhurst Drive in the previous meeting, no action was taken in Monday night’s meeting, which was postponed last week because of the snowstorm. The council debated the merits of a comprehensive plan for the purpose of traffic calming with staff and council working with the new Ad-hoc Transportation Committee compared to just addressing Gardenspring itself.

Councilwoman Michelle Barson said that the combined efforts should help expedite the process and that “we will be getting together in early January and put together some meetings to get through that.”

This was the fourth straight meeting that traffic-calming measures involving Gardenspring have been on the agenda, and although residents have previously spoken during the public comments portion of meetings, the public hearing offered a more formal opportunity and provided some different perspectives.

Resident Melissa Taylor got two petitions signed — one for stop signs and the other for speed humps. She reported that Gardenspring residents signed right away for speed humps, but that while people did sign, stop signs were met with some resistance.

Bob Dorsch, who has lived on the street for 29 years, said he didn’t really notice how bad it was until he became a grandfather and started taking his granddaughter around the neighborhood in her stroller. Plus, he had knee surgery and part of his rehab was to walk a lot.

“So I got to see an awful lot of what was going on,” he said. “And I was amazed how fast people were driving. It looks like Farmington Dragstrip.”

Carol Kausch, a resident of Gardenspring for 42 years, said that the street has become a cut through over the years, which has created the speeding problem. She said that in her opinion “the only way to solve the problem completely is to close off the intersection between Lasater (Road) and Peace Haven (Road). I agree that the speed humps will help. I do not believe the stop signs will do anything at all to help the situation in front of my house. I think we need to take the bull by the horns and either say we’re going to solve the problem or we’re not.”

Leslie Frye, who has lived at the corner of Lasater and Peace Haven for 30-some years, said that he “despised speed bumps” and refused to sign that petition and had “no opinion” on the stop signs. He added he has never had a problem exiting his driveway and that he would like to go on record as opposing it.

Howard Carviou, who lives on Lake Cliff Drive (which runs parallel to Gardenspring), said he sympathizes with all those who are concerned about speeding and that it’s a problem on his street, too. But he said he was concerned that whatever measures taken may have an impact on his road.

“I just ask that you consider the unattended consequences whatever you do,” he said.

Gardenspring resident Laurie Fitzgerald, in a rebuttal, said that because Frye lives on the corner and all vehicles must come to a stop there, “he may not see the speeding that we see.” And regarding the resident from Lake Cliff, she said, “I think it’s a shame that you wouldn’t fix a problem that’s so serious because someone’s afraid they may have a problem as a result of that. Maybe you fix both problems. We have almost an entire neighborhood except one resident who are really looking for some type of solution on Gardenspring.”

Mayor John Wait said he didn’t want to speak for council but that there’s the issue of cost and precedent in how they proceed and that the board wanted to gather more information.

Regarding the issue of stop signs, councilman Mike Combest said in his research that in every document he saw, “they should not be used to control speeding.” Combest added that he saw municipalities that do use those devices expose themselves to litigation if they cause traffic accidents, which almost all studies say that they will.

“I think it’s pretty clear that those are not a viable option,” he said. “Speed humps seem to get a very good grade, but they’re more expensive.”

Councilwoman Pam Lofland said that she has been at Arbor Run in Lewisville and that speed humps do solve the issue of speeding.

“It really does work,” she said.

Combest said he feels that a comprehensive approach is needed.

“Don’t solve an individual street’s problem,” he said. “Solve the town’s traffic problem. Approach it as a comprehensive problem that needs a comprehensive solution.”

Wait said that he although he supports a comprehensive plan, he believes that sometimes solving an individual problem has its benefits in the context of a larger framework.

“I think we continue to work forward on what we’re doing on both of these issues,” Wait said. “I think they’re two separate issues.”
Lofland concurred.

“I think a comprehensive approach is fine, but I also agree with John that they can’t all be cookie-cutter,” she said. “Every street is different. Every neighborhood is different. This has been a problem for a very long time. What’s good for this street is not necessarily good for the next neighborhood and the next street.”

Barson said, “That’s exactly what the research that Mike (Combest) shared with each of us said. It said to create a comprehensive plan but then to look at each street individually so that we’re all on the same page.”

In other business, the council:

• Heard from Barson in council comments, regarding the Tanglewood Business Park, that “great progress” has been made between the Village and Forsyth County in creating a special zoning district and that “it is shaping up to be something that is going to mitigate the impacts that we were so concerned about from a Village perspective while also ensuring that Forsyth is really able to attract the type of tenants that they were looking to.” Barson said that more information should be forthcoming in January.

• Heard from Wait in council comments regarding the great job done by Public Works during the recent snowstorm.

• Approved the meeting and holiday schedule for 2019 but heard a request from Barson to consider starting the council meetings on the second and fourth Mondays at 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. The council will seek input from the public before making any change.

• Accepted the 2018-19 audit report from Richard Tamer of Cannon & Company. His company gave a clean opinion on the financials for the Village.

• Heard from Melanie McCullough from the Historical Resources Commission regarding receiving grant money and starting the county architectural survey project. She requested $750 a year from the Village over the next five years to help with the project. The council requested to add this item to the agenda for the next meeting in January.

• Agreed by consensus to allow Village Manager Scott Buffkin, staff and council to continue work on the Contract Review Policy.

• Heard from Wait that Village offices will be closed Monday through Wednesday next week for the Christmas holiday and Tuesday, Jan. 1, for the New Year’s Day holiday. The Christmas and New Year’s week trash and recycling pickup schedule will maintain a normal schedule on Monday each week with Tuesday through Friday being delayed one day (pickups will be Wednesday through Saturday). E-Recycle will take place at the Public Works facility on Saturday, Jan. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.