Knox County is continuing the observance of National Public Works Week (NPWW) by highlighting Planning & Development and outstanding employee John Sexton, P.E.
“Thoughtful transportation planning is a smart way for the county to make neighborhoods safer with improved signage,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “In most residential cases a simple speed hump can be cheaper, less time consuming and more effective than a traffic signal.”
John Sexton, P.E. has been a transportation engineer with Knox County for the last 5 years. In his spare time Sexton enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and camping with his family, and leads services as the associate pastor at his church. Before coming to the county Sexton worked in private consulting. Sexton likes that in the public sector he gets to deal more directly with people and educate them on what services the county can offer.
Knox County Planning & Development encompasses a lot of diverse projects and specialties, from developing a new subdivision to designing a traffic circle. Sexton’s area of expertise is in transportation engineering and traffic calming. His work focuses on traffic issues within the overarching planning and development division, including maintenance on existing traffic signs, keeping tabs on signal timing modifications and evaluating pavement markings.
The traffic calming program was started in 2000 as a result of neighborhood association requests where speeding and cut-through traffic were concerns. Sexton responds to a number of public requests for service, whether through phone calls, emails or other forms of communication by first conducting a field visit to better understand the physical condition of the complaint.
“Human factors are a huge part of traffic engineering,” Sexton said. “And trends usually point to a problem.”
To help identify these trends, Sexton uses 5 years worth of crash-related data from the County Sheriff’s Department to develop a crash history of the location. Next there will be a traffic count conducted to identify how many cars pass through the intersection, which way they turn and other pertinent information. Once Sexton has collected all his data he will identify remedies and take appropriate action.
The most cost-effective traffic calming tool is speed humps. There is no need for additional right-of-way or easements to construct them and they help to deter speeding when prior signage has been ignored. Physical measures such as humps, traffic circles and horizontal shifts in the travel path are in place continuously and do not require enforcement to make them effective.
Neighborhoods interested in learning more about the traffic calming process can visit http://knoxcounty.org/epw/traffic_calming_packet.php for a complete information packet on how to get started.
For all the men and women who work diligently to maintain traffic signals, design effective traffic calming tools, update transportation planning and all the other countless aspects of public works, Knox County thanks you.
More information on National Public Works Week can be found at www.apwa.net/discover/National-Public-Works-Week
Knox County Celebrates National Public Works Week