BOC considering minor school zone speed limit changes

Alterations are minor

JONESBORO — Drivers may soon have to slow down in front of Charles Drew High School in Riverdale.

Clayton County commissioners unanimously gave their initial approval Tuesday for an ordinance that changes some of the county’s speed limit rules. The ordinance must be approved twice before it can go into effect and it is expected to come up for a second vote Sept. 17.

The changes are part of the renewal process for the county police department’s speed detection devices permit. The county must adopt speed limits every time a renewal is applied for. The last permit was granted in 2010, and it expires at the end of this year.

Most of the proposed changes are minor. Some new speed areas consolidate previous zones.

One example of this is Rex Road, from the Henry County line westward to a point 200 feet east of Trammel Road in Morrow. Previously this stretch of roadway was three different zones, with drivers being allowed to drive 40 mph, then having to drop to 35 mph and then speeding up again to 40 mph. The new zone is set at 40 mph the entire way.

In another case, Battle Creek Road would be removed from the school zone for George Kilpatrick Elementary School. Kilpatrick’s entrance is on Tara Road in Jonesboro, and is about 500 yards away from Battle Creek Road.

The big change will be the recognition that Garden Walk Boulevard now extends from Ga. 85 to Upper Riverdale Road. Only small portions of the expansion, near Ga. 85 on one end and near Southern Regional Medical Center and Drew High School on the other end had opened when the previous speed limits were adopted.

Drew High School opened in 2009, but drivers could not go past the school until a bridge crossing a creek opened a couple of years later. the new Riverdale Elementary School facility opened in January next to the high school.

County documents show no speed zone description for the Garden Walk Boulevard expansion was included in a previous ordinance for the 2010 permit application. If the new ordinance is approved, a 25 mph school zone for the schools would be added. When school is not in session, the speed limit would be set at 45 mph.

Other changes were minor reworkings of existing school zones.

One example is the school zone on North McDonough School extending from Ga. 138 to Jonesboro High School at Mt. Zion Boulevard. It will be shortened. Instead of beginning at Ga. 138, it will now begin 350 feet north of the state highway. The change will shorten the school zone from 0.35 miles to 0.28 miles. The speed limit in the zone will remain 25 mph.

In other cases schools will be added, or removed, from existing school zones. Sequoyah Middle School will be added to Alfretta A. Harper Elementary School on Valley Hill Road in Riverdale. In another case, Morrow Middle School will be removed from the school zones on Old Rex Morrow and Maddox roads.

The middle school moved to Trammel Road a few years ago, and that road includes a school zone.