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Decatur City Commission purchases electronic signs in effort to promote traffic safety

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Decatur City Commission purchases electronic signs in effort to promote traffic safety

Decatur City Hall. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — The Decatur City Commission, at its Feb. 5 regular meeting, approved the purchase of three portable, electronic message signs and trailers for a total of $56,400 from All Traffic Solutions.

“The messages can be programmed remotely. The equipment, in addition to just being a sign with messages, is also a speed feedback sign,” City Manager Andrea Arnold said.

For example, a sign could be placed on a road to display a driver’s speed if they are traveling above the speed limit.

“The main reason we’re doing this, bottom line, is this is one more tool we believe will help us in our efforts to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety,” Arnold said.

The city anticipates receiving the signs in about four to six weeks once they are ordered. The city may also consider purchasing additional signs during the upcoming budget cycle.

The message signs were one of several items Arnold mentioned at the Jan. 16 city commission meeting during an update on projects the city is working on to address pedestrian safety.

Since November 2023, there have been several crashes involving pedestrians and safety has been on the mind of residents, and city officials. On Nov. 6, drivers hit four pedestrians that day, injuring three pedestrians and killing a fourth, a 16-year-old boy. A driver left the scene on Tuesday, Jan. 9, after hitting a juvenile pedestrian. Two more pedestrians were hit on Jan. 10 at South Candler Street and East College Avenue.

The city’s initiatives include implementing a pace car program for city vehicles, installing speed cameras in school zones, building new sidewalks and other traffic-calming measures, installing audible crosswalk signals and improving lighting at certain intersections.

The Georgia Department of Transportation is also evaluating the speed limits on the four state routes in Decatur, and is considering adding a pedestrian scramble to the intersection of College Avenue and South Candler Street.

The state routes in Decatur are College Avenue, Scott Boulevard, South Candler Street, and Clairemont Avenue. A portion of Commerce Drive, between College and Clairemont avenues, is also a state route. GDOT is conducting a speed study, and it adjusts the speed limit based on the way people are driving, Arnold previously said. The city has not received the final report from GDOT yet.

In other business:

– Mayor Patti Garrett read a proclamation recognizing Black History Month.

Each year, Black History Month is celebrated throughout the month of February to honor the contributions that Black individuals have made and to recognize their sacrifice. Black History Month began during the Jim Crow era and was officially recognized in 1976, according to NPR.

“Whereas, it is essential that we take time to celebrate the immeasurable contributions of Black Americans, honor the legacies and achievements of generations past, reckon with centuries of injustice, and confront those injustices that still fester today,” Garrett said. “Whereas, the long shadows of slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining – and the blight of systemic racism that still diminishes our nation and our city today – hold us back from reaching our full promise and potential that all of us are created equal and deserve to be treated with equal dignity throughout our lives.”

To read the full proclamation, click here.

– The city commission approved a few alcoholic beverage licenses. One is for the consumption of beer, wine, and spirituous liquors for D92 Korean BBQ because the restaurant has a new owner.

Another license is for the consumption of beer, wine, and spirituous liquors for The Reading Room. The Reading Room is a new business that will offer wine, coffee, and “delectable apéritifs.” It will be located at 429 Church Street, the site of the Java Monkey coffee shop that burned down in 2018.

The third license is a temporary beverage license for the Oakhurst Wine Crawl that will be held on March 9 at Harmony Park.

– The city commission also approved the purchase of 33 police patrol vehicle weapon safes for a total of $66,000. The police department implemented a take-home vehicle program in January 2023. The rifles are securely locked in an overhead weapon rack in the vehicle, but it can be seen from the window in the overhead weapon rack.

“Although the rifles are currently secured in a locked overhead weapon rack that is behind the driver seat and the passenger seat, there is a concern when the vehicle is left unattended for a long period,” Police Chief Scott Richards said. “If weapon safes are purchased for each patrol vehicle, the rifles will be locked securely in the rear of the vehicle.”

– The city commission approved a resolution declaring the results of the special purpose local optional sales tax election. SPLOST was approved by DeKalb County voters in November 2023, along with the equalized homestead option sales tax.

– The city commission approved three appointments to the Environmental Sustainability Board, which fill the remaining vacancies on the board. Kristy Bible and Tony Harding will serve until Dec. 31, 2025, and Hunter Unrue will serve through Dec. 31, 2026.

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