Ponce Terrace Neighborhood Set To Receive Traffic Calming Improvements

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On the docket for tonight’s Decatur City Commission meeting, approving “traffic calming improvements” to the neighborhood surrounding the pending 315 West Ponce de Leon Ave development.  According to Asst. City Manager David Junger, these improvements were recommended by the neighborhood’s traffic calming advisory board back in 2011 and serve as an alternative to just building speed humps/bumps.  Among the measures set for approval this evening…

Medians at

  • Northern and Ponce Place
  • Fairview and Ponce Place
  • Ponce Place and Montgomery
  • Ponce Place and Clairemont

Mini-Traffic Circle at Ponce Place/Oakland/Beaumont (shown above)

Bulbouts at

  • Fairview/Montgomery
  • Wilton/Oakland

Mockups of the medians and blubouts are also available in the city’s materials for the meeting.

Also on the agenda, the recipients of this year’s sidewalk improvement program are…

  • Clairemont Road from the northern city limit to Michigan Ave
  • Kirk Road from S. Candler to S. Columbia
  • Maxwell Street
  • Westchester Drive from Dogwood to Scott Blvd
  • Derrydown Way Pedestrian Bridge

More info and maps including in the Decatur City Commission materials for today’s meeting

19 thoughts on “Ponce Terrace Neighborhood Set To Receive Traffic Calming Improvements”


    1. Blub out or bulb out? Never heard of either term but love the mental images they invoke. Walruses or sprouting daffodils.

  1. Are the Northern and Fairview medians meant to be at West Ponce Ave instead of Ponce Place?

  2. Bulb out (or bulbout) is the usual term. It’s great to see this coming to a vote tonight. A dedicated task force group from the neighborhood and city staff have met off and on for close to two years to work this out. I know how hard they worked as I sat in on most of the meetings. One of the main goals was to come up with traffic calming measures that could be used in other city neighborhoods. The medians and mini-traffic circles are two measures that we haven’t used before in Decatur and a lot of thought was put into how to configure them.

    Also nice to see that the Clairemont sidewalks are going to be repaired. They’ve needed some attention for quite sometime and good to see that they made the list this time around.

    Fred Boykin

    1. You need to reconsider the Nothern median. Placing this in the middle of the street on such a steep grade will be a recipe for disaster.

    2. I know a lot of thought was put into these solutions, but I do not believe that all will work the way that is hoped. If you look at the medians that have been marked in the street on Ponce de Leon Place you will see at the Montgomery intersection this median will eliminate the on-street parking in front of at least five residences. Likewise at the Clairemont end there will the elimination of parking in front of at least three homes. With limited drive space, on street parking on Ponce Place is at a premium and this will cause hardship for these residents. The same goes for the one on Fairview. Also, the right turn off of Clairemont onto Ponce Place will be very difficult because of the placement of the median as painted now. It is almost impossible to make that turn without running into where the median will be.

      The mini circle on Ponce Place might be nice as a way to introduce some greenery, but with the elimination of the stop signs I believe it will worsen the speeds through the intersection. Also, if there is loss of parking involved there will be the same parking hardships that will be caused by the medians.

      Finally, who will maintain these planted areas? I love the idea of the islands but is it up to the residents to maintain them? I don’t think the city has the adequate manpower or ability to do so. Look at how poorly the planted area that closes off Beaumont from Commerce is maintained and you will see what I mean.

  3. When is the city going to do the race track on Sycamore Drive? Now that folks moved off Dekalb Industrial due to the road work, try getting out of a driveway. It is sad that a neighborhood is being destroyed due to the city’s neglect. It is no longer an emergency route, so why not fix this problem too? Loved the day the woman slammed into the parent’s car having just put in her child at the nursery school.

    1. Race track? Really? This seems a bit extreme! I live on Sycamore Drive, and I have not seen a significant increase in traffic. Also, the road work on Dekalb Industrial is essentially finished. How is the neighborhood being destroyed? What is being neglected? Do you really consider all of Sycamore Drive to be a problem?

    2. (Okay, Decatur Heights neighbors… all I can say is I’d better be earning MAJOR karma points for not biting on this!!!)

  4. i remember this one time in band camp i was sitting next to this cute girl Wendy Mason and had a blurbout when it was time for me to stand up for my trombone solo.

    oh, wait . . .

  5. When the neighborhood proposed these traffic calming measures back in 2011, did they take into account the development at 315 Ponce? I’m guessing no (or just hypothetically?) Might they need some tweaking? I’m guessing additional suggestions might not be traffic calming per se, but traffic diverting?

    1. For better or worse, they’re public streets. Diverting is the first step towards self-fulfilled prophesies — insist that new growth will overwhelm capacity; sever connections or reduce opportunities for traffic to disperse through a more finely grained network; push all traffic onto a limited number of streets; and voila! Traffic gets worse!

      I like these. They show the neighborhood taking ownership while, at the same time, acknowledging their role in the broader community. I’m all for taming, even severely taming, streets but restricting access to people who help pay for them? No can do.

    2. The Ponce Place neighborhood’s worked hard at taming cut through traffic for years and already has traffic diverting methods in place: some of the side streets are dead ended, including access at Commerce; there’s restricted times to turn into the neighborhood from Clairemont, and their neighborhood is a Designated Residential Zone, meaning no wiggle room if you’re caught going over the posted 25MPH speed limit. I don’t believe there’s much more that they could do on that front. Kudos to them on the new median islands and bulbouts– can’t wait to see how it works out! (That mini traffic median circle has Sycamore Dr at Hillcrest Ave written all over it! :0)

      1. And it works. I never cut through there and I have a tendency to use efficient cut-throughs. It’s a great neighborhood for new drivers early in the morning because of the lack of traffic.

  6. I don’t cut through because any turning onto or crossing Clairemont is simply not worth the wait or effort, given other local options.

    I forgot about Beaumont being blocked off at Commerce (and my kid’s bus stop is right by there at Ponce Place). This is an example of good traffic diversion. Traffic diversion by itself can be bad with unintended consequences if not implemented with a total view of the area. “Good” traffic diversion promotes high volume flow while preserving low traffic neighborhoods. If Beaumont was accessible to Commerce. I’d expect to see fender benders there on Commerce during rush hour.

  7. I live at the intersection of Fairview and Montgomery and this is the first I’ve heard of this. Isn’t the city supposed to inform me if they’re going to build a bulbout right in front of my yard, and allow me to comment? Now that it’s been approved, I assume there’s nothing I can do, is there?

    Having lived here since 2003, apart from a gap between 2010 and 2012, I’ve never found traffic to be a problem on Fairview. If anything, there’s a problem turning from Fairview onto Ponce, and this traffic island will make traffic sluggish enough that it’ll be harder to find a gap between cars to merge into Ponce traffic. And as someone else pointed out, we’re going to lose street parking spots, which is one of the things I liked about this neighborhood.

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