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Safety Is A Matter Of Perspective

Jun 19, 2015 07:26AM ● Published by Chloe Bartlett

Construction is still underway on 1700 East, with speed bumps expected to be added in the next few weeks. Photo by Chloe Bartlett

Draper - 1700 East has long been a source of disagreement among those who live near it, due to the speed bumps that line the long stretch of road. Though they were installed as a safety measure, not all residents can agree that they truly promote safety throughout the neighborhood.

Many residents had hoped that Questar Gas’s recent upheaval and subsequent smoothing of the road would be permanent, but the inhabitants of 1700 East were concerned that a lack of speed inhibitors would put their children at risk. So they wrote letters, attended city meetings and eventually convinced the city council to reinstall the speed bumps and add narrowed striping along surrounding roads. 

This has left many people who live on nearby roads unhappy, as they feel it is a short-term solution that will have little overall positive effect. “Well, the narrowed roads is a definite ‘no’ because it doesn’t matter; they go up into the gravel if they can’t travel up and down the roads like they want,” Marilyn Rushton, a resident of the area, said. “And the speed bumps are out because I watch too many of them going through the gutters [around the bumps]. Speed bumps are not the answer.”

Speaking to that topic, Councilmember Marsha Vawdrey said, “This has been a hard issue because I pretty much am not in favor of the speed bumps. I think that it tends to make somebody’s problem go to somebody else’s road.” 

And in the years since Draper Middle School opened, Richens Road residents have become increasingly aware of the inconvenience that the speed bumps pose. Since no one wants to drive over them, it redirects a disproportionate amount of traffic across this road rather than up the street and onto Pioneer Road.

“The traffic is a bottleneck all up in here [from the merging of Ellerbeck Lane and Moose Hollow Drive] and they have to come down this street [Richins Rd.] all the time,” Lynn Smith said. “If they could go through 13200 it would reduce the traffic.” 

Parents have been especially sensitive to this point, since the huge influx of traffic will continue to pour through areas that are densely populated with children, and currently lack walkways for safe travel through the neighborhood.

Councilmember Bill Colbert said, “I am sympathetic with the neighbors on having a safe pathway: that’s a better solution to consider.” 

Though there have been discussions on possibly extending 13200 S., it seems unlikely to be done in the near future. 

In the meantime, curb and sidewalk additions have been proposed to help combat speeding by serving as physical boundaries for cars to follow. If these were to prove successful, Public Works Director Glade Robbins said, “With additional measures ... cut-through traffic no longer becomes an issue and some of these speed bumps can come out.”   
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