MM: More Scott Blvd Crash Details, Pullman Plan Proposed, and Best ATL Queso

43 thoughts on “MM: More Scott Blvd Crash Details, Pullman Plan Proposed, and Best ATL Queso”


  1. I expect to get ticketed on Scott one of these days myself. It feels like a highway. It’s so easy to exceed the limit without even noticing. I’ve caught myself and braked hard more than once.

    Of course that has nothing to do with the stupidity of this kid driving at 100 mph. This story just keeps getting more tragic.

    1. 100 miles an hour is so scary. It explains how a mature, careful teacher/mother/adult could make a turn into its path. The car hadn’t even gotten into range of sight when she decided to pull out. There was no time to avoid it.

      We have to share these kinds of lessons with our teens. A high school history teacher shared with us students the story of his speeding with a friend as a teen, cresting a hill on a rural road, and hitting a slow moving tractor that they never saw, then being laid up in traction for a year of his life. Made a huge impression. It still comes to mind if my speedometer ever creeps up to a safe limit.

      1. I agree At Home. This new information about the crash makes me want to weep with frustration. What a terribly thoughtless act.

    2. I wish the City would put up one of those message signs with the lights saying “SPEED KILLS” along that stretch of road for a couple of weeks as a reminder.

      1. “’You could have your own police department working Scott Boulevard 24/7 writing speeding tickets,’ Ross said.” (From the Decaturish article.)

        I’m not sure if it’s legal, and I know it wouldn’t be popular, but I think we need cameras that automatically ticket people going over a certain speed on Scott. We are never going to be able to adequately deter dangerous speeding with police alone. We just don’t have enough police for that task, when virtually everyone speeds on that road.

        1. “I’m not sure if it’s legal”
          Not in Georgia. The red light cameras cause enough grief, can you imagine what speeding cameras would do?

        2. This is common practice in Germany. We got a speeding ticket on a recent trip there because we didn’t slow down fast enough when the speed limit changed (which happens often on a single road). My spouse saw the camera flash in his rearview mirror as we went by. The rental car company charged us for the ticket.

        3. “We are never going to be able to adequately deter dangerous speeding with police alone”

          Have you driven on I-85 north of the Perimeter lately? GSP opened an office in Duluth a couple of years ago, they have patrolled I-85 daily since, and the average speeds have dropped (at least in my opinion). If police were writing tickets daily on Scott (unlike the officer who just watches the speeders in the morning school zone hours), eventually commuters would know to slow down on that stretch of Scott.

          1. The Decaturish piece has info from DPD reflecting approx. 3000 speeding tickets written in the last two years on Scott Blvd. That’s an enormous number and clearly reflects much DPD time, effort, and focus on Scott. Considering our city’s size and resources, I’m not sure how much more DPD could be doing in that regard.

            In addition to continued DPD focus on Scott, I think it’s time for us to consider some traffic calming infrastructure upgrades on Scott. The Westchester school’s reopening only heightens the need.

            1. Isn’t the problem that the state controls this road, not the city or county? If there was local control, this probably would have been addressed years ago. Locals have been frustrated with Scott for years. It’s a miracle that there’s more sidewalks than there used to be. My guess is that the state views Scott as transportation issue while those of us who live here see it as a safety issue.

              1. We need to get to the bottom of what the barriers or perceived barriers to improvement are and work from there. If the problem is GDOT, then we can turn our attention there. This is Decatur. We can do this.

                1. The city says they’re pretty constantly working with GDOT. They even recently had been pushing a beta program with GDOT to evaluate the effect of neighborhood speed limit reduction. They hit a setback recently because their contact at GDOT left, so they’re having to start all over.

                  I’m also surprised no one here yet has referenced the city’s recent-ish speed limit study and proposal

                  http://www.decaturga.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=4365

                  Maybe I need to do another post on it.

                  1. Thanks DM. Appreciate you sharing that speed limit reduction info, too. I took the survey and voted for a lower limit, but I feel that drivers will usually (the driver referred to here is something of an outlier) at speeds suggested by the feel of the road. Scott feels fast because of its width and hills. Do you know which City employees we should contact about the issue of improvements on Scott and GDOT communication?

                    1. It’s not a communications issue. The city has worked tirelessly trying to engage GDOT on the subject of changes to Scott Blvd. and continues to seek those relationships. The problem is that what GDOT wants for that street and what we want are two different things, and — at least until GDOT priorities change — their goals trump ours.

                2. It’s not so much an unknown barrier as a conflict of priorities. Decatur’s priority is a humane street that reflects our walkability goals and offers safe, efficient mobility for users of all types. But GDOT, as the regulating entity, holds all the cards and their priority is maximized throughput in moving cars out of downtown/intown Atlanta towards the ‘burbs. They are interested in safety only within the context of prioritizing and processing volume. The end result is a lot of people talking past each other because they’re not trying to arrive at the same ends.

                  1. Which means, in this case, the only solution is aggressive enforcement of the speed limit until that stretch acquires a reputation for it.

            2. It’s a state road, which is why it’s hard to get anything done to Scott Boulevard. Even connecting the sidewalks a few years back took a herculean effort, as I recall.

  2. That area of Lawrenceville Hwy (Tucatur?) definitely could use a good restaurant. Pea Ridge is a weird name though.

  3. Pea Ridge was the name of Rehoboth before the city fathers got together and picked a new name out of the Bible. The Fraziers of Frazier Road is my family.

  4. Do any kids today go through driver’s ed today? When I was 15 (in Indiana) I took a course at the school along with all my other classmates in the summer. 35 years later and I can still remember the video they showed us of post-crash scenes. Nothing was held back. It had a profound impact on how I drive. If my children do not have an easy option for a driving course I will show them a video like this myself. Crazy how easy it is for a kid to get behind the wheel of a heavy piece of machinary like that with little training. Very sad.

    1. Regarding driver’s ed, my high school offered it for free. It was like other “specials” -health, band, driver’s ed, PE etc. Doesn’t seem like schools offer driver’s ed for free anymore–don’t know if it’s an issue of budget or full schedules with current graduation and IB requirements. Now you’re lucky if a driver’s ed company comes once a year to the high school in the summer or on Saturdays, maybe at a bit of a discount. While I know that some kids pay no attention at all during driver’s ed, at least it’s a captive audience. And if it’s gory stories that catch their attention, fine. The whole “calculate the safe distance between cars using the following equation” is not the way to go. Even as an adult, trying to remember equations and making sure the units cancel out is a distraction from using good judgment in tight situations.

    2. Though I’m skeptical it had much bearing on this incident, I agree it’s far too easy to acquire (and keep) a driver’s license. But I doubt there’s much support for toughening the requirements.

    3. Drivers Ed is required to obtain a license prior to 18th birthday. After you turn 18 you only need to pass the written and driving tests.

      As to the point about a 19 year old HS student I would reply that is not unusual at all. Any child with a Jan-May birthday who is held back one year (WAY more common than you would think, especially among boys) is going to be 19 at graduation time.

    1. Because as terrible as this case is, some people are making a lot of assumptions about the accused. As you said, no one is guilty until proven so. I’ve seen that played out here before.

      I’m not interested in hosting conversations that devolve into attacks. Families are probably already suffering enough without coming across that kind of color commentary, even IF it eventually turns out to be justified.

  5. The problem with Scott heading south is that 78 goes from a true divided highway to a multi-laned U.S. highway to four-lane residential street without a whole lot of engineering and visual clues to get folks to slow down naturally. Until that’s fixed, I think aggressive speed traps and speeding cameras that automatically ticket are the way to go if they are legal. Slowing down Scott is not going to happen by social condemnation alone.

    1. Agreed. This is one of the areas where aggressive enforcement my be necessary. I would prefer traffic engineering solutions, but those are unlikely to happen.

  6. There seems to be some confusion about the issue here, which was the result of a 100+mph crash, not the daily commuters trying to make a living, take the kids to the YMCA, etc. Issuing lots of tickets doesn’t deter or eliminate the dangerous driving in evidence in this tragedy. Keep your perspective, and think critically. More signage, lower speed limits, and greater police presence are visible and familiar responses, but have nothing to do with the problem of someone with poor judgement going 2.5 or 3 times the speed limit in an unfamiliar (rental) vehicle.

    1. Nope, no confusion. This particular, thankfully rare, type of incident and the routine problem of people driving 20 miles over the limit on that road are two different issues. The discussion about changing things on Scott may have been provoked by the former, but it’s meant to address the latter, at least from my perspective.

      1. Yep. That’s how I see it, too. No confusion on my part.

        Though the driver that spurred this conversation is an outlier, the problems on Scott are pervasive and create a dangerous environment, even for conscientious drivers.

      2. “The discussion about changing things on Scott may have been provoked by the former, but it’s meant to address the latter, at least from my perspective.”

        Ah, good. We’re talking about targeting those doing 20 mph over the limit — i.e., 60 mph. I agree, let’s put a stop to that. 60 is too fast. 100 is way too fast, but we all seem to agree that it’s such an outlier that it’s irrelevant to this issue.

        And then I take it we can further agree — no need to target those everyday commuters who are driving reasonable speeds under the prevailing conditions, which just happen to be over the 40 mph limit, right? So we’re not trying to target the 45s, 48s, or maybe even the 50s.

        And then can we further agree that limiting Scott to 35mph — as is suggested in the COD document linked above — is a bad idea? Because if we did that and stepped up enforcement,, then we’d subject many people to sanction for doing a mere 40 or 45mph, speeds are that either in compliance with the current limit, or nearly so.

        1. A 100 mph speeder on Scott is an outlier, but the incident is relevant to the larger discussion re: conditions on Scott. While I’m medium-ish supportive of lowering the speed limit on Scott, I think the underlying issue is the condition of the road. It’s wide, hilly, and conducive to speeding. Who doesn’t want to roll down the windows and speed on Scott? In order to make the road safer for drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, and Westchester students, we need to change the road conditions to discourage speeding.

  7. I’m for whatever it takes to get cars to slow down there. If it can be done by consistently ticketing drivers doing ten miles or more over the limit without changing the limit, fine. If it takes lowering the speed limit and enforcing more strictly, I’d be fine with that too. We can see if the former is enough if DPD immediately starts a major crackdown there.
    I used 20 miles over because that’s what most of the tickets are for. That doesn’t mean I think 55 or even 50 is acceptable.

    1. Let me add that, speeding aside, I’d like to see a lot more citations for following too close, distracted driving, and unsafe lane changes, but that would be true for everywhere around here.

  8. Over the last week, I actually have been seeing a lot of police parked at the entrances to the apartment lot across from Westchester or Venetian Pools. I’m thinking it’s not a coincidence.

    1. Do they ever use those “Your Speed” signs on Scott as you come into Decatur from either direction? I can’t recall ever seeing one. Or would those not work on a 4 lane road?

      1. A number of those ‘Your Speed’ radar signs have been installed along N. Druid Hills Road (4 lanes) from near N. DeKalb Mall to pass Toco Hill. Just the other day I saw someone clocked at 60. 🙁

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