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The City Journals

Auto-pedestrian accidents spur Murray to take action on 700 West

May 07, 2018 03:51PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Traffic will only be allowed to turn right onto 700 West during Riverview pick-up/drop-off times. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave|[email protected]

“I’ve been scared to death,” remarked parent Stacy Otto regarding 700 West Street, which her daughter Hayley has to cross to attend Riverview Junior High. In 2018, within several weeks of one another, two students at Riverview were hit by cars on the busy road that borders the school.

Along with Riverview, 700 West/Murray Boulevard has along its corridor four other schools: Viewmont, Grant, and Horizon elementary schools, as well as the AISU charter school.

In 2017, Murray emergency crews responded to four auto-pedestrian accidents on 700 West, between 5400 South and Winchester Street. 

After watching traffic at the crosswalk, Otto now picks up Hayley at the school and drives her home. “Cars won’t stop for the kids even if they are in the crosswalk,” she said. While Otto has seen some kids jaywalk, she said, for the most part, kids adhere to the traffic rules. 

After the pedestrian accidents, Murray City implemented safety improvements near Riverview. School crosswalk signs were installed on 700 West and Tripp Lane. The signs have LED lights that are programmed to flash for an hour each morning and afternoon when kids are coming and going from school. 

The city engineer has expanded the “No Parking” zones on Tripp Lane and 700 West near the crosswalks to improve visibility for pedestrians and drivers. Additionally, Mayor Blair Camp has authorized hiring a crossing guard for the 700 West crosswalk (junior high schools generally don’t have crossing guards). The Murray Police Department is filling in through the end of this school year to ensure student safety while crossing the street, and they intend to have a crossing guard hired for next school year. 

In the upcoming months, there will also be sidewalk improvements made, including pedestrian ramps on each corner of Tripp Lane and one on 700 West where the crosswalk ends. Enhancement of the crosswalk striping will be done this summer to improve its visibility.

Other safety measures include the installation of “No Left Turn” signs on Tripp Lane for vehicles turning onto 700 West. The no-left-turn rule is only applicable during school crossing hours, which are indicated on the sign as being 7:30 – 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Also, a crosswalk will be painted on Tripp Lane to assist students walking along 700 West.

“That’s a great idea,” said Otto. “I think it will improve the flow of traffic leaving Riverview. Although, I am sure some parents might not like it.” 

According to Murray City spokesperson Jennifer Heaps, “The city has a Traffic Safety Committee that meets monthly to discuss concerns, and a representative from Murray School District is part of that committee. The committee has discussed the crosswalk on 700 West and fully supported the decision for the city to invest in signs and roadway improvements.”

As for the other schools, each elementary has a reduced speed school zone in place and crossing guards. At AISU, there is a crossing guard stationed on the corner of Vine Street and Murray Boulevard who assists students from AISU and those that walk to Horizon Elementary. “These crossing areas continue to be fairly safe and there are not any safety improvements planned for these specific locations,” said Heaps.

Heaps also said the State of Utah is working in cooperation with cities to reduce the trend of increasing pedestrian fatalities. There will be a coordinated enforcement effort, which Murray City will participate in, during the first week of April in areas with high pedestrian traffic. 

“I am glad they are doing something about it,” expressed Otto. However, she still plans to drive Hayley home until she feels certain of the safety measures.