Speed humps address last fall’s top election issue: Cart path safety

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I read Mr. Alan Felt’s recent letter to the editor with great interest, and I’m astounded that he completely missed the number one issue from last fall’s Peachtree City mayoral and council election.

Citizens for Sound Government was created, and they demanded greater cart path safety and noise control. They held a candidates’ forum to address this issue (see September 16, 2021 Citizen Letter to the Editor from Mr. Bruce Lehner).

Current council member Ms. Gretchen Caola made it a centerpiece of her campaign against incumbent Mr. Kevin Madden as she and others who live next to the cart path on the east side of Lake Peachtree had a front row seat to a large number of collisions, most never reported to the police, and lots of near misses. Residents in Ms. Caola’s neighborhood even had a Facebook group to document every collision they could.

In addition to being a campaign issue or maybe because of it, City Council organized a volunteer Multi-Use Path System Advisory Group that met over several weeks in public forums and a made a presentation at the December 2, 2021 council meeting.

In full disclosure I was a member of that group, and I’m sure our presentation is a matter of public record.

And before anyone jumps to the conclusion that we specifically recommended the current locations of the speed humps, we did not. We advocated for an escalating approach to safety including brush removal, painted lines, signage, path realignment, and, yes, speed humps.

The Advisory Group focused on the cart path on the east side of Lake Peachtree because it is easily the busiest path in the whole city. We heard from walkers that felt unsafe on the paths because of golf carts whizzing by. But we also heard about the costs of having police presence and the challenges when it comes to citing speeding carts, which are beyond the scope of this letter.

But in short, you don’t see officers with radar detectors on the paths for a reason. Additionally, extending police presence is a very expensive proposition relative to passive measures.

Given the Group’s recommendations and what I know about how the Mayor, Council, and City are approaching the paths, my personal opinion is that outside the east side of Lake Peachtree and possibly a very few other select areas, speed humps are not coming to a path near you.

As a runner, cyclist, and cart driver, the new speed humps are a mixed blessing. As a runner I’m so tired of golf carts that pass unsafely, and the speed humps have reduced this.

As a cyclist they are a big pain, so I just ride different paths. As a cart driver, the humps are just part of the ride, but I use the paths to enjoy the trip — not necessarily to get from point A to point B in record time. So if I’m looking to get across town quickly, I just drive my car.

Paul Schultz

Peachtree City, Ga.

9 COMMENTS

  1. First, the “elephant in the room” speed breaks on the cart path; you have ruined our cart paths with the obvious non-planning of these breaks. A speed break every 100 yards or so is ludicrous including one at the top of a hill (not many carts are speeding when they get to the top of a hill). Secondly, the speed breaks along the flat path next to the east side of the lake are appropriate as they have a space for bicycles, etc. to go across the middle without damage to the vehicle; the other ruinous speed breaks do not have this open slot in the middle. You are also tearing up our golf carts with all of these breaks. Gone are the days when a casual drive through the city could be enjoyed. Why was this money not spent on widening the bridge just east of City Hall if we had extra money. Remove these speed breaks.

    Related, but not specific, if people (walkers, disabled, etc.) complain about not being notified about an approaching cart on the path then they should remove the ear buds/headphones through which their music or telephone conversation is being blasted.

    The next issue concerns the use of an elected office (City Council) for personal gain. This is an offense that wreaks of corruption. Anyone who does not like a cart path access next to their property should MOVE; the path access was there when they bought the house. Many of us will be pushing for a vote recall to get this person and any connected relatives/friends out of office. The City Council position should be a position of representation of ALL citizens, not just the office holder. We have become used to this type of unethical, dishonest behavior in Washington, but it should not be tolerated in our city.

    As a 24 year resident I would submit that we revert back to the past cart driver requirements get the unlicensed, untrained 15-year-olds off the paths. They are the prime violators of speed, cell phone and loud music thus taking their concentration off their driving. Yes, 15 year-olds because the 16 years and older, while not completely innocent, prefer to drive the family car. Of course, we could always invoke a cart driver certification program for the 15-year-olds which would emphasize basic driving skills such as knowing where your right wheel is on the path, notifications to pedestrians, right-of-way priorities etc.

  2. The first change that needed to be made regarding golf cart safety/accountability is that one must have a valid driver’s license to drive a golf cart. That would have been a much better start to addressing safety than mindless annoying speed bumps. And more meetings by Paul and his group would not be helpful here.

  3. I tend to agree with Lever Up’s comments. If the police could cite a few violators I think it would send a strong message. Everyone is going to suffer with these speed bumps because of the actions of some jerks. But it’s obviously a serious problem and it appears the Advisory Group gave it serious thought. Like everything else time will tell. But I think some serious fines levied could also be a preventative.

    • Several of you have mentioned the need for better police presence and actual enforcement of codes and laws. I agree with you but I can tell you that all of my efforts to bring this to fruition have simply elicited lip service and unfulfilled promises …or a litany of excuses from our Police Department.

      I give the city’s Police Department very high marks on most topics, but not this one. To me it is laughable that they put multiple four-wheel units out on the cart path prior to 10 AM on a weekday but in the evening hours when most of the mayhem starts up they are nowhere to be seen. I also fail to see what efficiencies Are gained by those same four-wheel units riding in packs as opposed to dividing and conquering.

  4. Most never actually believed that the installation of speed bumps was a personal choice of a select few, in that it was not a government response to path safety. The argument is one of overkill and poor communication.

    Per your own letter and involvement in the working group, the use of bumps was just one option and the final solution was not one undertaken with public buy-in. And, the obvious truth to many of us is that the number of bumps is too great.

    The argument that we cannot use our police to make a difference by ticketing people is specious; the reality is that it would take a short term, focused action that would result in changing people’s habits. We have used police to set up checkpoints on the paths many times to check registrations and driving under the influence (like after a concert at the Fred). For some reason, ticketing speeders is too expensive?

    Finally, what is the end game? Asking bump installers how many more and the response was “many”. Just on the east side of the lake there are now too many bumps. Is the total plan available for public view?

    • Post script:
      I also noted in your letter that you have taken to riding on other trails now, thereby avoiding the bumps. This is not lost on many of us. The overuse of bumps in this area has reduced the use of those trails in addition to speed. There is an appearance at least that reducing the use of this most used trail was a factor (main factor?) in the decision and that is problematic for all but those who happen to live on said path.

  5. You are right that they address it Paul – its just been done in the wrong way. We’re all concerned about safety.

    I live pretty far from the lake and go over ~2 speed bumps traveling miles. And then hit like 16 by the lake. These need to be spread out and are overly concentrated. Honestly – it sucks driving that way, and hopefully the public uproar will bring some intelligent moderation. Others do indeed use the cart path for travel. We had a car in the shop and I used them to get to a doctors appointment this week.

    The police need to patrol them for more visibility. I’ve literally never seen a cop on the path outside of Battery Way. Its just disappointing to see council flexing on something that’s making our lives worse, as a cyclist/carter/lazy jogger.