You Build It, They Will Come: Quarterman Road Drag Strip

Carolyn Selby reminds the Lowndes County Commission at their regular meeting on 9 February 2010 that residents asked the Commission to redesign Quarterman Road for slower traffic.

“You did throw us a bone by limiting the speed limit at 35 miles per hour. But it’s not enforceable We asked you to put in speed humps…. Nope. Couldn’t do that.

You designed a mile and a half straight-away, and they have come. Welcome to the Quarterman Road Drag Strip!

She took pictures. She called 911, and they caught one of the dragsters. Neighborhood Watch in action.

The Commission responds by looking at County Engineer Mike Fletcher:

Fletcher says they’ve sent a request to the Georgia State Patrol to ask for radar enforcement on Quarterman Road. That’s a good idea, but also very interesting, considering all the times they told us they couldn’t do that, because the design speed is higher than the posted speed limit.

And speed humps?

Chairman Ashley Paulk still says they can’t do that because of “mercy vehicles.” “Anybody else?” he added, perfunctorily.

Yet Portland, Oregon does it. New Haven, Connecticut, does it. Plainfield, New Jersey does it. Numerous counties in Georgia do it, as a 10 second google search reveals.

And no, a 35 MPH posted speed limit is not an impediment to installing these impediments. Most of these examples are of speed humps intended to bring speeds down to 35 MPH.

Why is Lowndes County backwards, to use one of Commissioner Lee’s favorite words?

We were told Quarterman Road was being paved for safety. Commissioner Richard Lee, who earlier insisted on paving Quarterman Road for that reason, silently shuffled papers in response to Carolyn Selby’s pictures of drag racers.

When will the County Commission do something about this safety on Quarterman Road? Will this take until mercy vehicles have to be called after somebody is run over by a drag racer?

Meanwhile, there were other citizens wishing to be heard.

Gretchen Quarterman wanted to know if the county would hold a local government 101 session like Valdosta is doing.

Chairman Paulk joked that maybe she would like Valdosta to annex Quarterman Road. She responded that no, she’d just like something done about safety.

County Manager Joe Pritchard said he and County Clerk Paige Dukes were working on something on county government that they would show to the Commission soon.

John S. Quarterman (your humble scribe) noted that while he’s aware the county has some budget issues, looking on the county’s web pages before this meeting he found no Commission meetings scheduled for this year, and he thinks that’s rather severe!

Or somebody could update the calendar; that would also work. Chairman Paulk said it’s probably because he was out of the country. jsq agreed that must be it. The calendar was updated by the next day. No meetings are listed for January, even though I remember going to some.

County Manager Joe Pritchard and Public Works Director Robin English commended a former employee, but neither of them said his name:

Commission and Robin English gather for group picture with honoree:

We look forward to the minutes so we can learn his name.

Update: The agenda says his name is James Perry, Public Works Retiree.

The Valdosta Daily Times didn’t see fit to mention any of this.

Fortunately, LAKE covered these citizens wishing to be heard, and a former county employee being honored. Here’s a playlist for the above videos.

4 thoughts on “You Build It, They Will Come: Quarterman Road Drag Strip

  1. Barbara Stratton

    Sorry about your problems with the road John & Gretchen. Found this post interesting. I’ve noticed that local city & county commission meetings allow the public to attend as required. However, no information about covered subjects is furnished to the public so a lot just goes by. I’m surprised they don’t supply budget info since it gets talked about, etc. We get to see things voted on, but have no idea what’s being discussed a lot of the time. Maybe the local Tea Party organization can check into what is meant by open to the public.

  2. John Quarterman

    The County Commission does supply budget information. The public is welcome to attend the public meetings, of which there are usually four a month: two work sessions and two regular meetings. Not many people show up. Typically folks attend only if there’s some specific item that affects them in particular, and then they get up and leave when that item is over. That’s maybe slowly changing. If you want to hear discussion, go to the work session.
    The minutes usually say who spoke and a pithy sentence about what, but of course aren’t available until after the next meeting, so they can be approved.
    The VDT has severe space constraints and usually sticks to whatever they consider the most important items.

  3. Barbara Stratton

    You seem to be well versed in how it works, but I don’t think most citizens including myself understand the process. It is my understanding that citizens can only listen and not speak at the work sessions which would probably make a better fact finding venue if there is more discussion, but not a place to ask questions. Citizens can only speak at the regular meetings if they pre-register and state what they intend to speak on so meetings are really just listening sessions for most citizens also and most issues seem to have already been decided, which probably refers back to attending work sessions. Minutes can be a good summary of what took place, but the info they contain has usually been voted on so it is mostly history. They also have to pass through another meeting session to be approved before they are available for public posting and by that time they are really history. Valdosta’s government 101 class is probably a good teaching experience. I called the week it was announced in the paper and it was already full with no alternates list available and no offer to leave a name for next year. I think more citizens would attend work sessions and meetings if they understood the process.

  4. John Quarterman

    Indeed, most people don’t know how it works. This is why the government 101 sessions Valdosta is having and the county is thinking about are a good idea.
    Traditionally the work sessions do not have questions from citizens. However, the current chairman, Ashley Paulk, usually notices if somebody is there looking inquisitive and asks if they have anything they want to say. In addition, before and after the meetings, the commissioners and staff are usually receptive to people walking up and asking questions.
    Some local government bodies do require pre-registration to speak: the Valdosta School Board does that; I don’t know about the Lowndes County School Board.
    The County Commission merely asks you to state your name and address. Same for Valdosta City Council and Hahira City Council.
    At the moment, the best way to understand the process (which is slightly different for each local governmental body) is to attend the meetings. And of course to read the LAKE blog and comment on it like you’re doing.

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