New traffic warning signs went up Tuesday near the Sandy intersection where two Indian Hills Middle School students were hit by a truck five days ago.
The city installed new, larger speed-limit signs and busy street warnings near the intersection. Work started Wednesday on new flashing warning lights.The 7:45 a.m. collision Thursday at 1300 E. Sanders Road (11625 S.) killed Tommy Jensen, 12, and injured his friend Brian Jensen, 13. The tragedy came close on the heels of the Oct. 19 death of Bernice Louder, 76, struck the evening of Oct. 3 in a school crosswalk on 9000 South. The two accidents drew the community together and prompted city officials to action.
But some Sandy residents told the City Council Tuesday night that they were uneasy with the way the city responded to their concerns about school zone safety, and for nearly two hours vented their frustration, anger and sadness.
Why, they asked, did the city have to wait until people were killed to do something about school zone safety? Why did the city put up the new signs and decide to go ahead with the flashing lights after telling neighborhood residents as late as Monday night that these steps could not be taken? And how long will the city support intensified safety measures, such as providing police officers for crossing guards?
"I am very concerned as to the (city's) commitment," Pennie Birdsall, Indian Hills Middle School PTSA president, told the council.
Birdsall had vowed Friday to take city officials "to the mat" over the issue of school zone safety after saying she didn't think the mayor was giving parents enough support. But eventually, the collective, relentless outrage of the parents led to a Tuesday morning meeting with city officials.
Out of that meeting came a number of agreements, said Sandy Mayor Larry Smith, among them the decision to budget for a new traffic light at 11400 South and 1300 East and a promise that police would step up traffic law enforcement and serve as school crossing guards. The city has also asked the Utah Department of Transportation to install a traffic signal at 9000 South and 300 East, Smith said.
The council agreed to establish a traffic safety task force, whose members would include city safety officials, council members, city staffers and any resident who wishes to serve. The task force's first meeting is scheduled for Dec. 10.