Granite Quarry board members give thumbs down to speed bumps

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2016

By Mark Wineka

GRANITE QUARRY — After seeing a short video presentation on how temporary speed bumps could be installed on neighborhood streets, members of the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen came to a quick consensus.

They don’t want speed bumps.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Brinkley and aldermen Arin Wilhelm and Jim Costantino made it clear Monday night they weren’t fans of the traffic calming devices often installed in residential neighborhoods.

“I think it’s too much of a liability,” Wilhelm said.

In previous meetings, aldermen cited their concerns about damage speed bumps can do to private vehicles, plus the question of costs and maintenance. Brinkley also asked Monday how many “serious requests” town officials had received for speed bumps.

Mayor Bill Feather reminded his fellow board members of a request for speed bumps from the Timber Run Homeowners Association in February. Mary Wright, president of the group, said speed bumps would be the most economical solution to a speeding problem in her neighborhood and something that might someday save a child’s life.

The Timber Run subdivision is posted for a 25 mph speed limit, but vehicles often travel faster than that, Wright said. The neighborhood has two long straightaways, she noted.

Feather said he personally could only support speed bumps if a neighborhood group would pay for the installation and maintain them. He described the Timber Run request as the only formal one the town had received, while he has heard more casual comments from residents in other areas in town.

Alderman Jim LaFevers suggested the board “look at it a little bit more” before completely dropping the matter, but others reiterated their opposition.

Town Manager Phil Conrad gave a formal presentation on the traffic calming devices and the advantages and disadvantages often cited. Among the advantages are reduced speeds, enhancing pedestrian safety and reducing cut-through traffic.

Disadvantages include slowing the response of emergency vehicles, maintaining the speed bumps once they are in place, encouraging drivers to steer around the impediments and deciding where to place them.

Conrad shared a video from a company whose traffic-calming speed bumps were easy to install and easy to remove. Conrad said for the town to install speed bumps anywhere would require an ordinance.

The town board also would have to consider things such as an application fee, signage and making sure it had some oversight into the placement of speed bumps, Conrad said.

Feather asked his fellow board members whether Conrad should proceed in drawing up an ordinance, which led to the decision to drop the matter.

In other business Monday, Town Engineer Jeff Moody reported that RDR Inc. has installed the waterline which will serve the new Granite Quarry Industrial Park, being developed through a partnership of the town and Rowan County.

Moody said the line will be filled, pressure-tested and chlorinated sometime this week or next. The contractor remains ahead of schedule. Completion date is supposed to be mid April.

“I don’t think we have hit any rock at all in the project … even in the creek crossing,” Moody told aldermen, who approved another payment to RDR, this one for $173,209.

In a related matter, Town Attorney Chip Short said a sidewalk exemption for Chamandy Drive, the road serving the industrial park off Heilig Road, is OK, based on an agreement approved with the county and Department of Transportation last November.

That agreement did not include sidewalks, so in effect, that decision was grandfathered in, Short said. Zoning in that area would normally require sidewalks on a new street.

In other business Monday, aldermen:

• Officially adopted a downtown master plan for Granite Quarry whose emphasis will be a two-block area at the center of town, though it touches on other areas for economic  development and improvements.

Several budget decisions to be made in coming months will determine what aspects of the plan are tackled first.

• Approved the purchase of a new police car, with all of its equipment and detailing, for $33,300.

• Passed a resolution in honor of fallen Salisbury firefighters Vic Isler and Justin Monroe, who died in the March 7, 2008, fire at Salisbury Millwork. The resolution will be forwarded to families of the fallen firefighters and the Salisbury Fire Department.

• Set a budget meeting for 4 p.m. Thursday.

• Approved a text amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance defining when retail accessory uses, such as showrooms or display areas, are OK. They essentially are limited to an area equivalent to 20 percent of the gross floor area containing the principal use.

• Learned the town will sponsor an Easter egg hunt at 3 p.m. March 20 at Civic Park.

• Learned from Conrad that the town is negotiating a new three-year contract with Waste Management for garbage pickup and looking at different options to that deal.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.