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Roundabout to be considered for Crosstown-Parkway intersection?

An engineering company that will prepare conceptual designs for scaled-back improvements to the intersection of Peachtree Parkway and Crosstown Drive will also look at the possibility of making the intersection into a two-lane roundabout.

Pond and Company will be preparing conceptual designs for the intersection, which also will look at the addition of right-turn lanes.

Mayor Don Haddix said he strongly opposes a roundabout for this intersection based on negative public feedback the city has received. It was noted, however, that the comments against a roundabout were for the intersection of Peachtree Parkway and Walt Banks Road.

Councilwoman Kim Learnard said it wouldn’t hurt the city to find out about what it would take to make the intersection a roundabout.

“We know we don’t want a light. That’s the main thing we’re hearing from citizens,” Learnard said.

“I can guarantee you the citizens are going to come back out and have a fit about a roundabout,” Haddix said.

The motion to approve the conceptual design work at $21,080 was unanimous.

The city has a $400,000 grant from the Georgia Department of Transportation for the project, but that plan includes the addition of a traffic light, which the city council has said is unnecessary.

The city has asked the Fayette County Commission to fund $774,000 to add multiple lanes to the intersection, but the commission asked the city if the project could be further scaled back since it is not backed up with traffic often.

County Commissioner Eric Maxwell suggested that the necessary right-turn lanes could be added to the intersection with no need to use the state grant, particularly if the state would require that the traffic light be added to the intersection.

The county agreed to fund this study from funds from the 2003 countywide transportation SPLOST. The city wants to also tap those funds to pay for the intersection improvements at Peachtree Parkway and Crosstown Drive.



jqp_ptc's picture

$21k just for a "study?"

You could send an intern out there for a day to realize the intersection is just fine.

3/4 of a MILLION dollars to add a couple of lanes?

Stop wasting all of the tax dollars.

Can you hear me?

STOP. This is insane.

ginga1414's picture

Observe, Fayette County. There is hope, yet!

Don Haddix is ACTUALLY talking about what the people want!

"Mayor Don Haddix said he strongly opposes a roundabout for this intersection based on negative public feedback the city has received."

"I can guarantee you the citizens are going to come back out and have a fit about a roundabout, Haddix said."

"We know we don't want a light. That's the main thing we're hearing from citizens, Learnard said."



Doesn't PTC or the County have a Traffic Engineer on staff who could make professional recommendations on this situation? Personal & Individual wishes should not totally drive any decision.

the county have Engineers. Seems at the Dec. 1st meeting, the BOC asked PTC staff "Is that something your staff can do?" There was no response.

Then an offer was made by the county "Is that something our staff can help you with?" Again, no response. A third time, they were prodded, "ASK..." and still no response.

Those are 3 questions that bear asking the city by those who feel this 21k is an unnecessary expense.

1) Doesn't PTC have staff to do "an engineering study of alternatives"? (With no traffic study, they stated they will use the existing 2007 study)

2) Why were there no responses to having PTC staff and county staff work together on this "engineering study of alternatives"?

3) Why didn't PTC staff ask for the help (other than just for $$ for the new engineering design consultant that has been contracted for future projects)?

Well geez, if I, as an outsider, can see that, why can't the Council? But hey, it's only 21K and as long as it's someone else's money, who cares?

Here we go some more. Even the study on this is a waste of our taxpayer dollars. I drive through this intersection every weekday evening between 5:30 and 6:30 (should be a busy time.)

The traffic moves smoothly, everybody takes their turn. It's not broken.
I haven't heard anyone who uses the intersection complain.

Quit trying to fix things just to spend money. All of the traffic lights and new roads in this county have just added to the problems.

You dont have the money to waste. Unless you steal it as usual. This intersection has done just fine for years. Leave it alone. Do not waste our money. It gets a little busy about 5pm each day for maybe an hour. That doesnt qualify for you numb skulls to waste more money. When will this crap end. I realize stupid is a qualification to hold office but give me a break.

Mike King's picture

Let's see now: The citizens don't want it; Mayor Haddix doesn't want it; The mayor knows the citizens don't want it, but PTC's 'Fab Five' are going ahead and spend $21K to tell them what they just said.


How about isolating the origin of this proposal and exposing it to public view-think all PTC residents deserve such a revelation.

Mike King's picture

Hope Montana suited you. As you can see from this list of posts our city government continues to slide further and further into the abyss of the absurd. But since we've elected a rudderless council, what could we expect?

Just saying no now cost the city $21K.

Was fine thanks, as you read in another post, I took Long Johns and didn't use them! Kept up with posts from afar on my Son's 'puter! Will return in May for nr 2 grandchild. Happy New Year! We should plan for a "Your call" beverage meeting soon in 2011! And may the New Year bring common sense to our County Commission & the PTC Council!

Mike King's picture

You've got it! A 2011 bloggers call with adult beverages, just what we need, rightists, leftists, alcohol, maybe even ole chrispy would show.

Happy New year!

Mighty fine--we just need to remember not to identify our gathering as a "Weight Watchers" group and maybe even Gort will join in!

a big pot of blackeye peas tomorrow? I am, complete with smoked ham hocks & chopped onions! Passing on the collards.

Mike King's picture

You bet! Some traditions last forever. I did not pass on the collards.
Happy New Year!

TinCan's picture

Darn, I wanted to be the first to throw the fit but missed it. Oh well I'll be at the top of the list for a few minutes. Posted before that I travel this intersection quite often and have no problems. Where do we find these yahoos?

What goes around comes around even at the parkway and Crosstown.

Mike King's picture

Could two old war horses agree that there are times when those in government should simply do nothing so that the citizens are not left paying a bill?

The whole stinking thing is nuts. At least people would use the roundabout. That West Fayetteville Bypass is a freaking taxpayer black hole.

Look at it this way Haddix is an honest guy. He doesn't always make the best decisions or win at convincing the two queens on the council to get off their cans and do something. But he's not on the take. Compare that to Morgan's lovefest of Bob Lenox and Fred Brown which makes me want to puke.

Bob Lenox was a crook and Fred Brown was so full of himself no one else could fit in the same room. But Morgan will kiss their assets in a heartbeat.

I agree with you though. Anytime the government asks for more tax dollars for these special appropriations for roads I'm saying NO WAY.

Hey Mike you've got to lighten up some in 2011 because it's better for your ticker.

30 minutes and counting (Happy New Year!!!).

Mike King's picture

...A few more reps with the weights and a few more minutes on the bike should do the trick.

My question to you: Are you going to continue to defend our former mayor when you realize that he has no intention or capability to stop the WFB?

Happy New Year!

Steve Brown's picture

Mike, we all know it takes three votes. I have two currently. The third vote is between the other three commissioners and the voters of Fayette County.

After their 2009 SPLOST failure and their defeat in the 2010 election, despite overwhelming odds, it is safe to conclude the voters are sending a message.

Commissioner McCarty and I kept the WFB on the forefront of the campaign. Both Jack Smith and Eric Maxwell gave their rationale for the WFB and mass transit (Maxwell opposed the mass transit but conveniently withheld opposition to Smith's votes.) and they did not hold water.

If the other three continue in the current path, they will deal with the voters in 2012. As for my vote, it will be for no construction of the other two WFB phases.

Spear Road Guy and many from the VFW came after me in my re-election bid with Harold Logsdon. Most of those men offered apologizes after the Logsdon administration began to act. One nice gentleman even wrote a letter of apology in the Citizen. I have nothing but absolute respect for those men.

We all know you cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time, but my goal is for the citizens to say I never acted in self-interest, I had a factual basis and sound reasoning behind my actions and I protected the constituents as though they were my own family (even if they disagree with me).

You just ought to think about using "we" instead of "I" when you talk about votes. After all, it should be all about a commission consensus, not an "I" position--that won't win you much support from those who elected you and will fuel the fire of all the "anti-Brown" crowd.

Drive the one in between Kroger and Kmart and ask yourself if this would be a good way to handle the Parkway and Crosstown intersection.

Seems to me the intersection is working well enough as is and isn't costing anything to do so.

but I too agree that the intersection seems of Crosstown/Peachtree Parkway also seems to be fine.

Start at Dec. 1st FCBOC Workshop minutes. Included in those minutes is a copy of PTC City Interoffice Memorandum from David Borkowski, City Engineer, to Council dated Oct. 28th. Here is his quote: "The reduced project scope will involve turn lanes only".

Now go back to discussion of this memo recommendation from PTC staff (Borkowski) to Council on Nov. 4th Council 2 of Council meeting minutes....there was NO discussion in the minutes of the Crosstown/Peachtree Pkwy intersection regarding any detail. Was the memo Council looked at the same one that was presented to FCBOC on Dec. 1st? If so, then there was NO roundabout included. If the memo recommendation from staff was changed between Oct. 28th and Dec. 1st, where is the record of vote by Council approving the change(s)? Finally,"Sturbaum moved to approve the request to FCBOC as presented by staff. Learnard seconded."

Pay attention to "involve turn lanes ONLY" and "as presented by staff".

Someone needs to explain where and when and who approved this proposal to INCLUDE a roundabout in the bid BEFORE Council voted unanimously to approve it this past Monday at the workshop. Where is the public record of this change adding a roundabout? And where is the memo from staff to Council advising of the addition of a roundabout to this bid proposal?

PTC Observer's picture

around and around she goes, where it stops nobody knows.

But in the meantime we'll spend a lot of money.

I would not have been in favor of a round-about @ PTC Pky & Walt Banks. There clearly is not enough room.
I would not use the Kroger ones as an gauge of how 1 might work on a larger scale but I seem to navigate them fine.
There was citizen "out cry" & "negative public feedback" for the proposed & finally built 1 in Newnan at the end of Lower Fayetteville Road. Even those redneck hillbillies have come to successfully do a NAScar left turn.
Finally, in this current climate of spend no tax money, I would say that better to do something now before the real need; than wait & spend more in the future. Penny wise / $ foolish.

Mike King's picture

Normally, your statement about being penny wise and dollar foolish would apply. I ask that you consider the rate of growth in PTC over the last five years and that which is expected over the next five. I believe you will agree that unless our elected officials relent and allow TDK Boulevard to be extended no substantial increase in traffic will be realized.

Perhaps Don and his idol Commissioner Brown have another surprise for us. After all, it was Mayor Brown who originally proposed the idea and spent upwards of $150K towards the project.

Steve Brown's picture

I do not think the roundabout could be a negative. It is better than coming to a full stop for nothing.

The roundabout at Crosstown was proposed during my administration because of the TDK Extension. The belief was Crosstown was the quick short-cut to Fayetteville.

When the TDK Extension finally dried up, I thought it would go away.

The project I would really like to see with some of the SPLOST funds is the gateway bridge on Highway 54-W. Hopefully we can stop the segregation of transportation projects as Peachtree City vs. the rest of the county.

Mike King's picture

One to one-half hours of traffic back up for upwards of two hundred yards with no appreciable population growth anticipated. Surely, a county commissioner can prioritize better. Now, should you plan on reopening the TDK Extension the increase in traffic would be supported. Should that be on your agenda, you could be in for a substantial backlash.

I also would like to see the Gateway Bridge you reference, except I would prefer to see it built from east to west vice north-south. At least this way PTC shoppers could use their carts to travel back and forth from Fischers crossing. Perhaps you can work with our Coweta County neighbors to have a cart path extended to the bridge from their side. After all, wasn't it your anti-business and development administration that set the stage for Coweta's newest enterprise for us Fayette Countians?

Lastly, my biggest objection with PTC's current Council is frittering away $21K for what I believe to be the fifth study on the same damn intersection. Would you be aware of a filing system for city hall?

"I do not think the roundabout could be a negative." Politic speak, no doubt.

Steve Brown's picture

Rest assured, I have no plans to do anything with the TDK Extension and was delighted to see the City Council wipe it off the planning radar.

Mike, I was not anti-development and anti-business. A lot of development occurred during my time, along with more business registrations than any other period up to that point. I did oppose certain types of development, but not all, not by a long-shot.

My entire council refused to rezone property to high residential densities.

I have never been in favor of the big box stores, feeling it ruined the character of the city/county. I had a hallmark moment in November as a Fayetteville resident who supported big boxes and the Fayette Pavilion, admitted to me the Pavilion area is crashing. Northern Fayette County is a rough position and we had all better be concerned.

Many women in Fayetteville and Coweta tell me they come to Peachtree City for shopping almost exclusively. Safety and pleasant environment are the two reasons most given. Thus, I like the idea of unique improvements to the Highway 54-W area to keep it in play with shoppers.

The Coweta government made it abundantly clear they were concerned about Eastern Coweta shoppers going to Peachtree City. They planned over 1 million square feet of retail/office on the TDK Extension alone.

Back to my roundabout comment, all roads have consequences. The West Fayetteville Bypass will enable more residential development and congestion. The widening of Highway 54-E will create more traffic in the county too, allowing ease of access from Clayton. The Crosstown roundabout will have little impact.

Let Coweta have the Sam's Club and the cinema, both carry a lot of baggage. What Coweta is going realize later on is that they are bleeding their existing shopping on Bullsboro all the way to Newnan. The new fringe shopping centers kill the older ones inside their county. Gwinnett is seeing this in a big way.

These SPLOST initiatives are like runaway freight trains. I have never supported one in Fayette County. The transportation SPLOST taught us that the priorities can be completely ignored on a whim.

The only SPLOST project that every jurisdiction agreed on was the East Fayetteville Bypass. It was, by far, the top priority. The last commission totally scraped the priorities with no public input and it looks as though the East Fayetteville Bypass will be one of the projects not built.

Mike King's picture

Most, if not all, of the development projects begun during your administration began long before you took office.

Whether you consider yourself anti-development/business or not, it was during your administration that the growth in PTC businesses began to dwindle. Your comment on being anti-big box is awkward in that it was you who proposed the Wagreens on the Lutheran Church site.

You are correct in stating that the Crosstown roundabout will have little effect, then why build it?

Are you kidding me? The dummies in PTC cannot even negotiate a four way stop in town and you expect them to master a roundabout. Have you ever observed the cluster @$@% at Crosstown Kroger? Don't even try it on senior discount day at Kroger.

Don Haddix's picture

I do not know who originated the idea of putting it as part of the Agenda. Until I saw it on the Agenda the scope of the issue, from the County, was reducing the cost of the project.

Most assuredly there was discussion in prior years. I remember it, Councilman Sturbaum remembers it and so do others.

We went ahead and voted to get the plans because it was not a cost difference and the other three wanted to see it. That means they will also hear from the citizens. Therefore a 5-0 and not a 3-2.

I have driven them in Scotland and DC. Contrary to what some claim when traffic gets heavy enough stops signs and lights do get added. On a two lane it is easy to get trapped into going around multiple times on the inner lane before being able to get off. Nor are they recommended for every intersection.

<a href="
" target="_blank">Metering Signals

As well on two lane roundabouts, which this would be, right turn and straight use the right lane on approach and the outside lane in the roundabout. For left turns it is the left lane on approach, the inside lane in the roundabout and then turn right across the outside lane to exit. Even the studies show at least a 25% increase in accidents with two lanes.

All that and not even getting into how much land it would consume.

Finally, why is this even being looked at? Because the GDOT says it needs fixed and if we do not use the grant money when offered we will end up paying for it 100% out of local tax money in a few years when the require it.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

mudcat's picture

That seems like the right move. If you believed (5-0) that a $21,000 study for a roundabout was the way to spend money, logic follows that you should read the study, have staff and the public comment and make a decision based upon exactly what you said in your last paragraph.

Nobody thinks personal opinions of the mayor or anyone on council or anyone blogging here matters. What matters is what is best for the city long-term and whoever you are paying the $21,000 to should be listened to. I assume they are professionals with some knowledge of the subject. It looks like you are making up your mind ahead of time and poisioning the well with your personal opinion before the study has even been written. How about you just preside over the process as a mayor should instead of blogging your own mini-study ahead of time. In other words, try not to be Brown the second. Nobody liked that.

As an aside, there are several cities and county governments around the country that have an even number of members and the mayor or chairperson only presides and does not vote at all - except if someone is absent and there is a tie vote. I like that a lot. That's a real forum for leadership instead of politics.

Don Haddix's picture

Because this is not the first time we have gone over this subject, it has been discussed several times on more than one Council in the past.

In prior years the design company used actually pushed a roundabout at Walt Banks while engineers living in the city stood up and gave 180 degree statements.

Even in cities where the Mayor only votes to break a tie they still have their input on each and every subject. They still bring issues to the Dais. Mayors and Council Members speak on matters all the time and do their own research, which is fully appropriate.

By the way. I did share the link with the Council Members and Staff.

Logsdon took strong positions on items before votes as well as did Mayors prior to Brown. As do commission chairs, governors and presidents on issues.

People sometimes do not like what certain Mayors and Council Members say or do, I agree. But neither did people like groups like Direct Pac trying to be in control either.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

Robert W. Morgan's picture

That type of arrogance can produce unintended consequenses. Being the smartest peson in the room is Brown's schtik - not yours, Mr. Mayor. You seem mystified that you are usually on the losing end of 3-2 votes in both your own administration and Logsdon's. It is no mystery to most of us.

When the above headline runs in The Citizen in the near future, please refer back to your responses. Taking strong positions on items before votes does happen and Lenox and Fred (the real mayor) Brown were the last two that did that from a position of competence and knowledge- they were effective leaders. Mayor Steele in Fayeteville can do that as well because he is a natural leader.

As I have said many tmes before, listening to the 3 or 4 regulars at council meetings is not productive, but if you have in fact paid an outside consultant all that money, it might serve the city better to listen to them or read their report with an open mind.

Now I seriously doubt the 3 rookies on city councl would spend all that money on a roundabout just to rub your nose (and Doug's) in it - like they did on defunding DAPC, but it is certainly possible.

Live free or die!

Thanks for the revisionist history on Bob Lenox and Fred Brown!!! But fairy tales don't come true pal. My favorite Lenox tale is when he tried to fire the girl in City Hall for telling on him. He ended up paying her a nice settlement.

Calling Ken Steele a natural leader is like saying Adolph Hitler celebrated Hanukkah. If you think spot zoning all over the center county is good then you should love him (Steele that is. Hitler probably did a much better job with zoning.)

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Doctrine or political beliefs have nothing to do with an individual's natural ability to lead others. Personal charisma, soaring rhetoric, ability to build coalitions and a consistent public image are character traits that effective leaders share. Their message (whether it be right or wrong) resonates with the masses or the followers and causes them to act in some way that supports the leader's goals and objectives. That's the other thing about effective leaders, they have clear, understandable goals and objectives. Got it?

Don't confuse one's beliefs with their ability to lead. Along with the despised Hitler, you have the former mayors I mentioned, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Jesse James, Whitey Bulger, Billy Graham, Martin Luther King, George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Lech Waleasa, FDR, JFK and scores of other leaders who had different ideas about what was right and wrong, but were still natural and effective leaders. In other words, they all got something done whether you or I liked the result or not.

Missing from this list are Steve Brown and Don Haddix. They of course can make lemonade of this lemon by adopting a new slogan - "At least I'm not Charles Manson".


Live free or die!

Gort's picture

Mayor Don, The anti-government fervor that has gripped the nation has reached its tentacles all the way into your fair city. Political opposition is mounting. It’s up to you alone to save this project! Logic and reasoning are not working! What are you going to do!?! What are you going to do?!?

(Imagine a brief musical interlude starting here.)

Daaa-dot, Deee, dot, Deee, dot !

(End imaginary musical interlude here.)

Well I’ll tell you what you could do! Re-brand that project name to better reflect the mood of the people? How do you expect people to get excited about something called the “Roundabout for the Crosstown-Parkway Intersection”?

Change that name to the “Ronald Reagan Memorial Circle”. Now that’s something people in PTC would be interested in hearing more about and willing to support!

Forget about spending 21k on some study by “experts.” The people of PTC, don’t need no stinking “experts”! Spend 4 or 5k on some artist renderings for a statue of Ronald Reagan and have a model made. The statue specifications need not be elaborate. Maybe a 10 or 12 foot tall, cast bronze depiction of Reagan dressed as a Roman General, with gold veneer breastplates, and his eyes forever glancing to the right. In one hand he points his sword to the sky, in the other hand he holds the severed head of Michael Dukakis, wearing his tanker helmet, by his side. (MMmmm, okay, forget the tanker helmet but keep the severed Dukakis head.)

As soon as the artist renderings and model are delivered you can go on the local lecture circuit with all the civic organizations and make you pitch. Offer them a challenge. The city will build the “Ronald Reagan Memorial Circle”, (aka: roundabout,) but it would be up to the community civic organization to donate the statue.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote for the Democrat.

PTC Observer's picture

sounding a bit clever this morning, is it the new year?

Happy New Year, I hope you didn't stay up too late.

Gort's picture

PTC_0, Happy New Year! I watched the ball drop in Times Square, the roadies put Dick Clark back in mothballs, turned off the TV, and went to bed.

Cleaver! Who me? Are you talking about my post to "Mayor Don"? I was trying to offer him some tactical advice. I guess it didn't work? 8-)

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote for the Democrat.

Mike King's picture

Your priority appears to keep from losing a $400K grant which on the surface seems commendable, however when you factor in that the citizens must fork over some $374K (or thereabouts), it lessens your argument. Presently, the only times the intersection is 'jammed' is late afternoon with returning commuters, and by the tone of those involved on this blog, it's not that bad. As far as the $21K for the study, just how many studies have been done on that intersection? I'm sure your 'staff' could tell you.

It's really great that you've driven both in Scotland and DC, but driving habits and norms are developed over time and changes do require acclimation. Are you prepared to accept responsiblity for accidents the first year?

You preside over a city with faltering revenue during a national recession, and yet you have yet to address an issue without throwing money at it. Your personnel costs approach 65% of total revenue, yet you borrow $700K over fifteen years to upgrade a fire station that arguably could have waited. I guess being uninvolved or having no control over the council agenda hampers your effectiveness.

Don't you folks EVER get it?
The politicians, planners, engineers, consultants and construction companies keep coming back with these ludicrous propositions because that's how THEY MAKE MONEY and TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER. They CAN'T leave well enough alone, because there's no money - and no overruns - in that.
Most of us believe if it works don't fix it. But these bandits live by the creed that a million dollars MIGHT make it better but certainly WILL make them richer.
GET REAL! It's a recession and these crooks need the work!

PTC Observer's picture

You get it, most don't.

Read the mayor's response carefully.
Clearly, now you know how he governs - its all about the politics not leadership.

There is one false statement though...he keeps the city council in the dark except for Sturbaum and he plays games with the other members.

Where does the mayor get his feedback - I suspect some friends, Tea Party and basically he does what he wants. Recently he stated he wanted a bowling alley because he heard "voices"..those were voices in his head.

The sooner we dump this guy as mayor the better this city will be!
Let's hope that the other three council members can keep him in "check".

If you are used to them they can move a tremendous amount of traffic. Once you learn to come up to the yield and judge the traffic moving through the circle they are easy to navigate.

That said the biggest need for this intersection is to widen the Crosstown approach to the Parkway South so traffic turning right onto the parkway has it's own lane. This would cut down on the back updown the hill to Mucklows...

The solution is a simple one that spending $21000 will probably not even see.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

With or without a roundabout, the "problem" that they are trying to solve is the back up of evening commuters from Crosstown who want to go south on the parkway. A dedicated right turn lane that keeps moving all the time would handle that. That would take 15-20 feet off the buffer in front of Towne Club. The southbound Parkway traffic that continues straight through this intersection would stop, then go and the cars from the continuously moving right turn lane would merge easily into Parkway south.

If you wanted to go to the next logical step, you could put another keep moving right hand turn lane from Parkway south to Crosstown west - in front of the bank. Crosstown would have to be 4 lanes for a couple hundred feet if you do both, but there's room for that.

Good solution. Draw it up, I'll explain it at the meeting and I'll split the $21,000 with you.

Live free or die!

suggarfoot's picture

Federal lawsuit targets 'overzealous' speed trapShareThisPrint E-mail .The Associated Press

ARCADE, Ga. — Ten police officers used to roam the busy stretch of highway that slices through this tiny northwest Georgia town, writing traffic tickets that helped pay for a spacious city complex but also infuriated local businesses and repulsed drivers.

Arcade's residents hoped they had put the reputation behind them after the Georgia State Patrol cleared the city of speed trap allegations and a new police chief downsized the department. But the issue re-emerged, this time in the form of a federal lawsuit filed by a frustrated driver.

"Someone had to finally take a stand for all those who have been targeted by the city of Arcade police," said Joe Moses, a retired dentist who filed the complaint in December. It contends officers used "overzealous and improper tactics in creating a speed trap" along U.S. Highway 129.

Residents have grown used to the allegations. The National Speed Trap Exchange warns drivers to take caution when rolling through the city of 1,900 about 13 miles northwest of Athens. And the Georgia State Patrol investigated the city three times between 1997 and 2005, each time concluding the police department was not running a speed trap.

"It's made people scared to death to go through Arcade," said Darlene Craven, the owner of Darlene's Family Hair Care and Tanning Salon, which sits along Arcade's main road.

Police Chief Randy Williams, who took the department's reins in 2008, said he's cut the department down to a lean staff of four officers that's dedicated to community policing and crime prevention.

"Traffic is part of policing, and I like officers to be seen," he said. "But we just tell them to enforce the law."

City attorney Jody Campbell declined to comment on the pending lawsuit, and the city has yet to respond to the complaint in court. The city's mayor did not return several messages seeking comment.

While the state investigation could have stripped the right of local police officers to use radar detectors, the federal lawsuit could carry other penalties. It seeks punitive damages, a jury trial and Moses' attorneys hope to broaden the complaint to include others who fee they were unjustly pulled over in Arcade.

"We intend to explore this apparent speed trap, and find others who have been unjustly caught in its net," said Craig Goodmark, an attorney who joined civil rights attorney Gerry Weber in representing Moses.

Moses was driving home from visiting his daughter in Athens on a foggy December 2008 night when he noticed a police car trailing him, he said in the complaint.

He pulled to the side of the road after driving a few hundred yards to let the squad car drive by him, only to watch the officer pull behind him, he said. First, he said he was cited for driving too slowly. And when he objected, Moses said the officer tagged him with another citation: Failing to have working tag lights.

Moses claims both citations were erroneous. And he said that he asked two police officers in a nearby town to check his tag lights 30 minutes later, and both confirmed in writing that his lights complied with state requirements.

Even with a downsized police force, Arcade still earns a hefty chunk of its revenue from traffic fines.

Some $192,000 of the city's $675,000 total revenues in 2009 came from fines and forfeitures, according to a Georgia Department of Audits review. In 2008, the city reaped more than $380,000 in revenues from fines and forfeitures, about 40 percent of the total revenue collected that year, according to the audit.

Connie Whitey, who has lived in town since 1991, said she hopes the lawsuit doesn't stoke new fears about her town. She said during the police force's heyday, revenue at her liquor store Bulldog Package dropped 40 percent as drivers steered clear of Arcade.

"What did we need 10 police officers for? They ruined the name of Arcade, and it's taken us years to rebuild," she said. "Arcade definitely was a speed trap. It still can be, but it's not as bad as before."

hutch866's picture

Let's see, going too slow and tag lights, yep, sounds like a speed trap to me.

I yam what I yam


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