ALBEMARLE — Following a petition by concerned citizens asking for the installment of speed bumps in the south Albemarle area, the Albemarle Police Department concluded in its latest traffic study that speed bumps aren’t recommended at this point in time.
Albemarle Police Chief David Dulin presented the results of his department’s study at the Sept. 8 Albemarle City Council Meeting in response to a group of citizens from the Amhurst and Kingville communities.
Back in July, this group of 10 residents came to the city council with a petition containing 100 signatures of those concerned over the number of speed-caused accidents in their neighborhoods.
The APD didn’t hesitate in investigating the issue.
Between July 20 and Aug. 26, the department set out its traffic trailer on 14 different streets in south Albemarle (including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Leonard Avenue, and Coggins Avenue) for 24 hours each to collect data such as vehicle counts, speed, and correlating accident reports.
The APD study concluded that while there are sporadic issues with speeding in this area, the collected data does not indicate that the installation of speed bumps would be justified; the study documented that the average speed for each location stayed under 28 mph despite the posted 35 mph limits.
“We don’t really see a pattern of any aggressive driving or anything of that nature that would require speed bumps, but I know that we’re going to ask for a recommendation of what we should do from here,” Dulin told the council members.
Only 9% of the 185 city-wide vehicle accidents during the study’s time period occurred on the 14 streets in question — the majority of that 9% happened within the Walmart parking lot. As far as the number of cars on an average weekday, only Leonard Avenue reached the benchmark of exceeding 1,000 cars.
The APD also referenced problems that speed bumps could potentially create: acceleration noise at the locations and reduced response times for emergency vehicles, to name a few.
Instead of speed bumps, the APD said it is looking at other methods for handling speeders in south Albemarle. Those options include a heavier speed enforcement presence on those streets, enforcing a reduced speed limit (which would be posted by the City of Albemarle) and adding pavement markings to the roads.
The theorized markings — painted striping of center lines, shoulder lines and parking spaces — could potentially cause motorists to drive more slowly due to the narrowed travel lane available.
“We definitely want to educate the public of the awareness of what community members are seeing in their neighborhood,” Dulin said. “We want to be out there and more visible to the public to let them know that we’re there, but we don’t want to set the example of writing up a bunch of speeding tickets and ruining everything that we’ve built up to this point. We need to find that happy medium.”
Earlier in the meeting, Dulin addressed the council with news that the APD was awarded its ninth CALEA Law Enforcement Accreditation Award with Excellence on July 31. The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) awards departments throughout the country with accreditation based on their application of law enforcement standards.