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letter to the editor
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

The farragutpress April 8 edition coverage of the March 18 Farragut Municipal Planning Commission’s discussion and public hearing on the cross section for Snyder Road/Outlet Drive indicates [Farragut Community Development Director] Ruth Hawk advocated that median islands be placed at certain points to prevent the third lane from being used as a passing lane.

Unless a traffic-related problem has been identified and documented by a transportation engineer, it is inappropriate to spend money on median island installation or any other physical barrier measure. In fact, according to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, “traffic calming boils down to two things:

• Identifying the nature and extent of traffic-related problems on a given street or in a given area

• Selecting and implementing cost-effective measures for solving identified problems.”

I encourage the town of Farragut and Knox County to utilize appropriate traffic calming measures for the intended purpose, which is to “reduce the negative effects of motor vehicle use, alter driver behavior, and improve conditions for non-motorized street users.” Traffic-calming measures are best suited as a means “to reduce traffic speed and reduce cut through volume in the interest of street safety, livability, and other public purposes.” Traffic-calming measures are not a preferred solution to the issue of drivers using a middle lane as a passing lane.

To Knox County Engineering and Public Works: Please do not spend any time or money addressing an issue that may not even be a problem.

To the Farragut Municipal Planning Commission and town of Farragut staff: Please do not blatantly suggest median islands as a generic solution when a problem hasn’t even been identified. Instead, on this and future projects that come before you, it would be appropriate to ask a question such as: “Have any studies been done to indicate there will be a traffic-related problem for which traffic calming measures might be considered an appropriate solution?”

Brigham Thomas


Quoted text is taken from “Traffic Calming: State of the Practice,” ITE/FHWA, August 1999. Available at


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