The squeeze is on when the five lanes of 900 East slim down to two lanes as the road turns west to become 2200 North.
Motorists traveling the road in the opposite direction encounter the same problem when five-lane 2230 North crosses Provo Canyon Road and jogs to become two-lane 2200 North.The Provo City Engineering Department has proposed addressing the problem by striping 2200 North to make it a four-lane road. Rather than widening the road, curb parking would be eliminated. But that plan has prompted objections from residents of the area.
The proposal was presented at a neighborhood meeting at Rock Canyon Elementary School Oct. 1. Residents at the meeting opposed the proposal, and the same sentiment was expressed when approximately 50 residents form the area attended the Provo City Council meeting Tuesday.
Responding to the concerns of the citizens, the city suggested a compromise proposal that was more palatable to the neighborhood, although the city said the compromise may be a temporary measure.
Mayor Joe Jenkins suggested that 2200 North remain two lanes for now while additional studies are made. Traffic studies would be conducted after all the planned construction on University Avenue is completed.
To help reduce traffic, Jenkins said the city could try to convince more people to turn left on 1650 North instead of 2200 North. Signs and adjusting traffic signals to make traffic on 1650 North move better might encourage motorists to that route.
Local residents said the traffic counts made by the city on 2200 North were not an accurate reflection of road use because they were taken at a time University Avenue and 2230 North were closed. Traffic usually carried on that route was diverted to 2200 North instead.
Although the residents in the neighborhood are concerned about the dangerous traffic situation created when the road becomes only two lanes, a spokesman for the neighborhood told the council that the city's proposal to widen 2200 North to four lanes would create more problems than it would solve.
Patricia Heaton, who lives on 2200 North, presented citizens' concerns about the four-lane road.
She said a four-lane road would increase the probability of accidents and deaths. "An elementary school is just a half block from 2200 North. Many school children cross that street several times a day. A four-lane highway would place them in severe danger."
Another concern was the parking problem created if 2200 North was "red curbed." Heaton explained it is a residential neighborhood, and most of the homes along 2200 North do not have adequate parking if on-street parking were eliminated.
A four-lane road is also a threat to property values, Heaton said. She said several real estate agents were contacted. "A local Realtor has indicated that the value of homes in this area would be dramatically depreciated, not only along 2200 North but in a large adjacent geographic area.
"This residential road, 2200 North, is a beautiful, tree-lined gateway to the temple. Proposals to destroy it would be detrimental to the entire city," said Heaton.