Neighbors propose traffic mural for Johnson City Tree Streets


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - Speeding in residential neighborhoods can be very dangerous. In Johnson City there's a neighborhood of residents coming together to try and solve the problem with an unusual approach.

Chad Bennett is a Tree Streets resident, a neighborhood near ETSU, who said even these speed bumps don't do enough to cut down on speeding.

"There's a speed bump right up the road there and the cars scrape it a lot when they don't know it's there as they come speeding through," Bennett said.

News 5 went to find out if speeding there and in other residential neighborhoods really is a significant problem for the city. Police Sgt. Jim Tallmadge said typically it's one or two people who repeatedly drive too fast through a neighborhood.

"They're coming and going at certain times, people notice them because they're much more out of the ordinary," Sgt. Tallmadge said, "and it gives that perception that it is a significant problem."

Numbers at the city's traffic engineering department show in the past five years, these streets met the criteria for traffic calming measures, like speed bumps and traffic circles:

East Holston Avenue

South Barton area (Center Street and North Street)

Brookhaven Drive and Winwood Drive area

Buckingham Drive and Westminster Drive area

Rock Garden Road

And the following areas are in the Tree Street neighborhoods:

West Pine Street (two different areas)

East Maple Street

Now a group of people have a new plan for the Tree Streets. Resident Jodi Jones is among the group proposing a traffic mural as a reminder to slow down!

"Other cities who do projects like this claim that they have a traffic mitigation aspect to them," Jones said.

There's one in Seattle is similar to what she has in mind. That city set guidelines regarding how many of the neighbors adjacent needed to approve of the project. These are the guidelines she plans to introduce to city commissioners along with the mural, whose approval will also be necessary.

Jones believes painting the mural with neighbors would also help unite the neighborhood.

"A way of bringing people together, beautifying out neighborhood, and just doing something exciting and fun and new," Jones said.

And what better to paint on a tree street?

"We would love for it to be a tree because we are in the Tree Streets, so it would be sort of symbolic for us," Jones said.

The plan is still in its preliminary stages. Jones and her partners are raising money on this GoFundMe account to pay for the paint and supplies. The work would be done by the community.