Berkeley Lake officials to review traffic study

BERKELEY LAKE - John Karnowski of Streetsmarts Inc., presented mayor Lois Salter and the Berkeley Lake city council members with a traffic report Thursday night. The study and resulting report were commissioned by the mayor and council several months ago in an attempt to understand and relieve various traffic concerns within the city.

Streetsmarts put nine "highly trained traffic engineers on the project," Karnowski said. Data collection such as number of cars, travel speed and adherence to traffic laws took place in November 2006. The engineers focused on several key roads within the city limits including South Berkeley Lake Road, Lakeshore Drive, North Berkeley Lake Road and Bush Road.

"We expected to find problems at certain locations based on what we had been told," said Karnowski. "Surprisingly, S. Berkeley Lake Road doesn't seem to be a problem." The engineers did not note excessive speeding on the road (the posted speed limit is 35 mph) or heavy volume, so no recommendations were noted in the report for that road.

Lakeshore Drive, on the other hand, poses a couple of problems. The picturesque residential road has dips and curves, posing a hazard to pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists alike. Ironically, the scenery, dips and curves are what attracts pedestrians and bicyclists.

Speeding is one problem noted on Lakeshore Drive. "It's not excessive, but any speeding on that road is dangerous," Karnowski said. The major issue on Lakeshore Drive is that there is not enough room to accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

North Berkeley Lake Road presents several problems, also. Speeding, excessive volume and motorists' failure to stop at stop signs were all evident to the engineers as a result of the study. "We recommend several fairly low-cost solutions that the city could easily implement or phase in," Karnowski said. Gwinnett county would be responsible for some of the recommended changes.

Bush Road presents some of the most complex problems, according to the report. High volume, fairly high speed and traffic from surrounding areas complicate the solutions. One of the recommended fixes proposed by Streetsmarts is the installation of a roundabout, which would slow motorists down as well as act as a gateway to the city.

Salter and council members will review the report presented Thursday night and discuss the findings further with Karnowski at the February city council meeting.