Recent state legislation redefining school crossing zones around the state will force Orem to change some of its zones to fit the new specifications.
Daryl Berlin, Orem city manager, said the purpose of the legislation is to create uniform school crossing zones around the state."The uniform standards make a lot of sense," he said. They will protect cities from liability problems and help keep children safe.
"It will be an expensive process, and the money is not now budgeted for it," Berlin said. But there are plans to incorporate the cost, which city staff has estimated will be $92,278, into next year's budget.
The state has said that this is the program and the city must comply with the new regulations, Berlin said.
But Councilman Kelvin Clayton believes that the report is premature.
The city needs to look at the whole program and find ways to cut costs, not just bring everything up to standard, he said.
"I am not against safety," Clayton said. "We just need to create a `Pedestrian Safety Circle' and involve everyone in the decision process."
"I would plead with you not to rush into it," he said. "I would be happy to spend money for this if it is necessary."
The council cannot approve expensive changes just because one person or entity wants them, Clayton said. The city, the schools, the PTA and the parents all need to be involved.
Orem Traffic Engineer Keith Larsen said this is just a preliminary report about what it would take to comply with the state regulations.
"We had planned to get the schools and PTAs involved," Larsen said. They all need to be part of the process because there will be some extensive changes.
According to Larsen the biggest change will be in the type of crosswalk that is in a school zone.
Every crosswalk that would be used by schoolchildren would have to made into a "ladder" with wide straight lines, rather than the diagonally lined crosswalks that presently exist.
Also, Larsen said almost every school zone that has flashing or posted signs is too long and will have to be shortened. Nearly all of the signs will have be changed, too.
Concerning crossing guards, Larsen said, "We will still look at every situation singly, and then it is up to the council to remove them or keep them."
The new regulations state that any school zone which has flashing lights and school crossing must have a crossing guard.
There is one area that has flashing lights without a guard and another that has a guard without flashing lights, Larsen said. Both areas would be brought up to standard.