A group of Sandy residents is threatening picket lines or lawsuits to stop new business from opening until city officials give equal priority to traffic safety.
"We are all supportive of economic development, but there also needs to be good planning with regards to traffic," said Sam Burggraaf, chairman of the Central Sandy Community Council. "It has created serious problems when they have approved economic development projects - and not really allowed for the increased traffic. It has residents very upset."Yet Burggraaf said for the most part their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.
He said the response by the Sandy City Council and city officials to their vocal concerns has "been limited at best."
"We hope we don't have to participate in civic disobedience to get their attention, but we will do so if necessary as a last resort," Burggraaf said. One Sandy official maintains City Hall and residents aren't at odds over traffic problems.
"I understand the concerns that a lot of the citizens have. Public safety is my No. 1 concern," said Mike Frisbie, Sandy transportation engineer. "It's not the citizens against the city. We are trying to work with them to find the best overall solution to public safety."
But City Hall works too slow for many residents.
Burggraaf said three pedestrians, including two schoolchildren, have been killed on roads in Sandy during the past three years.
Three areas are of particular concern to Burggraaf and other members of a residents' traffic safety task force:
The street is a two-lane state-owned road cutting through residential areas. It's tagged by residents as a "death strip" because of heavy traffic and high speeds by motorists traveling from I-15 to the ski connection.
Proposed solution: Sidewalks and traffic lights, especially at 280-300 East, near both an elementary and middle school.
The four-lane street could have a new K mart store built at 8020 South. The city Planning Commission will discuss the construction of the store on Thursday.
Proposed solution: Crosswalks and more traffic lights to ensure safety of residents entering busy street from subdivisions.
The problem area is from 7700 South to 9400 South.
Proposed solution: Residents want the state-owned street widened. But Utah Department of Transportation officials say a proposal to widen the street, on the drawing board for about 20 years, could be postponed yet five to seven more years.
"Our committee has been told that the governor wants state funds to go to West Valley Highway, so other projects have been on hold," Burggraaf said. "This has a lot of us very hopping mad. We have done traffic studies on 7th East, and in the last 11/2 years there's been at least 500 accidents, including very serious ones involving pedestrians."
But Frisbie said, "We have been communicating with the state trying to clarify timing and emphasizing the need there," he said. "But since it is a state project, any final action will take place at a state level."
Burggraaf doesn't buy that argument.
"We look to the city fathers to take the leadership - whether it be a state road or a county road. The mayor sits on the Council of Mayors. The city has representatives on state committees.
May 1989 - Jan. 1991
Total 7800 So. to 9400 So.
7800 South 58
8000 South 25
8600 South 45
8800 South 37
9000 South 100
9400 South 84
Total 7700 So. to 10600 So.
7800 South 11
8600 South 96
9400 South 110
10600 South 47
Total between State Street and 700 East
300/400 East 12
State Street 80
Source: Sandy Police Department