Alpharetta discusses banning specialty brakes

Residents complain of ‘Jake Brakes’



ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Alpharetta may ban a certain kind of brakes from usage in the city.

At the City Council meeting April 14, the council debated banning compression air brakes typically used on large tractor-trailer trucks, commonly called “Jake Brakes.”

“We have received complaints from citizens, primarily on the west side of town,” said James Drinkard, deputy city administrator. “They create a ‘gunfire’ sound.”

He said the city’s noise laws are not equipped to deal with anything of this sort. A police officer would have to be camped out and not only witness the brake applied, but also have a sound device operating to record the decibel level.

Known as “Jake Brakes,” “Jacob Brakes,” or “compression brakes,” they are an optional addition to a truck and meant for emergency situations that require quickly stopping a truck. Emergency braking and in mountainous terrain, where constant braking can wear on brakes, are the intended usage.

Neither of which explains why they are going off in Alpharetta.

“Some [drivers] just want to make noise; others are braking too hard,” Drinkard said.

Much of this can be attributed on the west side to an increase in construction in the surrounding areas, requiring more large trucks to enter town.

A possibility of enforcement is placing warning signs around the city notifying drivers against using their Jake Brakes.

Councilmember D.C. Aiken objected to adding yet more signage to the entrances of the city warning drivers of the ordinance.

“You probably need to let the truck drivers know. The only way you can do that is with a sign,” Aiken said. “To me, this is no different than some cars or a motorcycle. It’s just as annoying but it goes away pretty quick.”

“It is a problem for people who live along major thoroughfares that used to be quiet roads,” said Councilmember Jim Gilvin. “For the people out there who are affected by this, at least we can say we are trying. And for people who are repeat offenders, we can stop them.”

Other members of the council suggested no new signs. Instead, they suggested making builders aware when they first come to the city about the new law.

“An education program would be better than signage,” said Councilmember Chris Owens.

The issue was tabled for more discussion.

Also at the meeting:

Eleven of Alpharetta’s roads will shortly be milled and resurfaced.

The contract, approved by the City Council in a unanimous vote, is for $482,000 and work will take 60 days to complete.

The city keeps a running tally of each road for which it is responsible, grading them in terms of condition. The lower the grade, the worse its condition. The roads are on rotation so they will be serviced as they near the end of their life and all roads are in adequate condition.

Alpharetta roads to be milled or resurfaced are:

Waters Road from Hampton Hall to city limits

Mansell Court from Warsaw Road to cul-de-sac

Colony Drive from Mayfield Road to cul-de-sac

Newport Hollow from Newport Bay Drive to Newport Bay Drive

Newport Bay Cove from Newport Bay Drive to Newport Bay Drive

Newport Bay Drive from Newport Bay Passage to Newport Bay Passage

Newport Shore from Newport Bay Drive to cul-de-sac

Newport Trace from Newport Heights to cul-de-sac

Highmeade Drive from Tumbling Creek Drive to cul-de-sac

Highmeade Terrace from Highmeade Drive to cul-de-sac

Acreview Drive from South Kimball Bridge Crossing to cul-de-sac

RN 04-17-14

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