Almost a year has passed since 14-year-old Sharrie "Shay" Young and her friend, Robbie Knowlden, 11, died after being hit by a car in a crosswalk at 2800 S. State.
Surviving friends and some community members hoped that tragic anniversary would be marked with finalized plans to build a skywalk over the existing street-level crosswalk.Calls for a skywalk were fueled last winter when the Utah Department of Transportation developed a mathematical formula identifying the State Street location as the area with the state's greatest need for pedestrian safety improvement.
"Unfortunately, we could be reading many more children's obituaries," said Maria Westwood, adding that South Salt Lake leaders are yet to offer the assistance needed to construct the skywalk.
South Salt Lake Mayor Randy Fitts said the city is, in fact, committed to finding pedestrian safety solutions and is not opposed to a pedestrian overpass.
"We just want to look at all the options" before making final decisions, he said.
For now, the city is waiting for some sort of design plan from UDOT to assess the impact a sky-walk would have on businesses at the site. It's possible some establishments would have to relocate, Fitts said.
But UDOT spokeswoman Andrea Packer said a design-specific plan can't be developed until the city agrees to participate in construction of the skywalk.
The mayor added there is some concern that the skywalk could, ironically, be a safety hazard to elderly people now using the street-level crosswalk to get to the Ream's supermarket on the east side of the road.
"We just want to do the best thing," Fitts said.
The Youth Empowerment Project will make a presentation in favor of the skywalk at Wednesday's 7 p.m. City Council meeting at 220 E. Morris Ave.
UDOT officials will also offer suggestions and general skywalk design plans with the council.
Packer said a "very rough" construction estimate for the skywalk is $600,000. Available federal funds would assume 80 percent of that cost - but the city would have to kick in the additional 20 percent or about $120,000.
Packer said the city would have to commit to the skywalk project in the next few weeks to be eligible for existing funds - although assistance dollars would likely also be available in the future.