More than 160 specific traffic safety concerns have been identified by a group of Sandy residents determined to make the community safer for schoolchildren.
Two children were killed in automobile-pedestrian accidents near Sandy schools in the latter part of 1990, which led the City Council to create the Sandy City Traffic Safety Task Force. The residents' group met 15 times, held four public hearings and observed presentations on traffic safety from city and county police officials, the Jordan School District and the Utah Department of Transportation."We're pleased with the long hours the group spent," said City Council member Bryant Anderson. "We expected to hear some negative things about the city."
The group released its report Monday and was presenting its findings to the Sandy City Council Tuesday night.
Speeding, inadequate sidewalks and crosswalks, and deficient coordination between public works and police departments and agencies top the list of concerns the task force identified. The list of specifics examines awkward intersections, walking routes without sidewalks, speed-limit inconsistencies and numerous other problems found in each of the city's four quadrants.
Ironically, most of the speeders in school zones are parents taking their children to school, according to Rep. Michael Waddoups, R-Bennion, whose unsuccessful bill in the 1990 Legislature would have required all school zones in the state to have standard markings and would have hiked citations for speeding in school zones to as much as $1,000.
Task force spokesman Stephen J. Nielsen said the group supports the concept of the bill and encourages the Legislature to adopt a similar bill.
Nielsen said the group made few head-to-head comparisons with other cities in Salt Lake County, and the cost of resolving the traffic safety deficiencies the group identified is not known.
The first steps toward improving pedestrian safety is for motorists to slow down, Nielsen said. Second, Sandy officials are being asked to address the task force's concerns and report back to the group within six months.
And since many of the concerns involve crosswalks in and around school zones, the task force is urging the Jordan School District to take a more active role in identifying, anticipating and responding to traffic safety concerns.
Many roads crossing through the city are maintained by the county or state, requiring officials from the various agencies to coordinate their efforts to resolve problems, Nielsen said.
Sandy's approach to improving traffic safety over the past several years has been to bolster law enforcement efforts. Nielsen said residents now want to see more money go into streets, sidewalks and signs.
The most recent comparisons available show Sandy spent 14 percent of its general-fund budget on public works in the 1987-1988 fiscal year, which was more than Provo's 11 percent but less than Ogden's 16 percent, Orem's 16.4 percent, West Valley City's 24 percent or Murray's 29.5 percent.
"Although public works may include items which may not impact traffic safety, this table suggests that Sandy should allocate more of its budget to public works," the report says, adding that an increase in public works spending is justified because Sandy is growing faster than comparable cities.
Other general deficiencies noted include inconsistent and inappropriate speed limits; vision obstructions; inadequate street lighting, street markings, snow removal, sidewalks, crosswalks, bicycle paths - and inadequate funding.