State Street has been called a few names in its time.
"It's been called many things, but never beautiful," City Manager Daryl Berlin told the City Council on Tuesday."Some people have called it a scar. I've called it a few things myself."
Council members discussed ways to beautify and develop the street that comes closest to being Orem's "downtown."
While most cities have a central business district, Orem's development has been more linear. Businesses have followed State Street and 13th South.
"State Street is our business district," Councilman Kelvin Clayton said during the council work session. "You know that if you drive down it any afternoon to see the traffic. It's very important to the economy of the community."
Council members discussed the possibility of lowering the speed limit, now 40 mph, to create more interest in the businesses that line the street. They rejected the idea because State Street is a major artery and a lower limit could create traffic jams.
Council members were asked if they want the spacing of trees along the road standardized.
"We know businesses would like fewer trees, but if we want it to look nice, we have to do something," Councilman Keith Hunt said.
Berlin suggested a flexible standard. "A lot depends on the use of the business," he said. "If you have retail sales use, you wouldn't want trees blocking the building, but you might agree to trees in clusters."
Council members also agreed to decide curb and gutter treatment case by case. Although they favored an 8-foot sidewalk next to the road, they admitted that a landscaped strip separating traffic and pedestrians could be safer.
They decided to examine research before deciding if they favored raised road medians. Although they may prevent some accidents, Clayton thought, by limiting left turns, medians cause other problems.
Council members discussed design features that make an area more pleasant to pedestrians.
Some cities widen the sidewalks near crosswalks or make the walks out of a contrasting material.
"Frankly, we do not have very much pedestrian integration in Orem, but we don't need it," Berlin said. "I don't think it would work because of our linear nature.
"And there are so many cars, you would never see them (contrasting crosswalks) anyway."
The council asked to hear in a future meeting a presentation on street lamps.
The State Street renovation is expected to take two or three years to complete.