JOHNS CREEK, Ga. – A $34,000 repair bill for a Ferrari damaged going over a speed hump on Buice Road has energized the Johns Creek City Council to replace all seven of the traffic control devices on that road. But it won’t be easy.
Johns Creek got stuck with the Ferrari’s repair bill because the Buice speed hump, installed by Fulton County before Johns Creek became a city, did not meet National Transportation Safety Board specifications.
The speed humps – often referred to as “speed tables” – are both too high and too long for NTSB standards.
A Ferrari “bottomed out” June 11 going over one of these tables and was damaged. Repairs to the 2004 sports car’s undercarriage were $23,954 plus an additional $9,519 for diminished value of the automobile.
There have been other claims for damage from the speed tables, but nothing approaching the Ferrari.
At the Dec. 4 City Council meeting City Manager Warren Hutmacher said the city’s insurance covered the cost, but it was likely future repairs would not be covered because the speed tables do not meet NTSB specifications.
“But the driver was obviously driving too fast when he went over the speed hump,” Councilman Lenny Zaprowski said.
Hutmacher said the primary determination of who is responsible for the damages is the city because the tables are standard.
Councilwoman Stephanie Endres suggested erecting warning signs to caution drivers to slow down or possible damage could occur. But Hutmacher said that would not relieve the city of its liability.
It was suggested the tables simply be removed, but Endres pointed out the devices are needed to slow traffic in a heavily traveled pedestrian area. Not only is Ocee Park next to the road, there is heavy pedestrian use from the residents.
“Cars would fly through that road. We can’t leave residents there with no protection,” she said. “And if we take out the tables, Waze [the traffic app] will send cars right through there.”
Other council members agreed some traffic calming measures are necessary.
Another complication arises in that, while Ocee Park and the Buice Road are Johns Creek’s responsibility, the homes in the neighborhoods around it lie in Alpharetta.
Hutmacher said he is recommending a process to find an acceptable solution that would involve the residents.
“I would like to move quickly with the residents and schedule meetings. The overwhelming sentiment we have gotten from them so far is they do not want to be left without safety,” Hutmacher said.
Another factor weighing on a remedy is that Fulton County has scheduled future road work laying water pipes in the area sometime in 2021. That would mean tearing out anything that is on the streets. But Mayor Mike Bodker said there is already an agreement with the county where Fulton would replace “whatever was there before” at the county’s expense.
“From a design standpoint, the clear objective will be to slow down traffic,” Hutmacher said. “So the next step will be to meet with the residents and get a consensus from the residents.”
Hutmacher asked what approach staff should take in dealing with the homeowners.
“Exactly the same as if they were Johns Creek homeowners,” Bodker said.