PROVO — City officials are so worried about students' safety when crossing a local roadway that they're considering calling on the Utah Department of Transportation to do something about it.

Neil Lindberg, Provo City Council attorney, said multiple residents expressed concern about the section of road located at 4200 N. University Ave. Many students jaywalk to across the road to get to the Walden School of Liberal Arts because the nearest traffic light is five blocks to the south. Vehicles trying to access the school through it's only driveway often make unsafe left turns because of the lack of traffic control devices.

"A lot of people have observed that perhaps it's an accident waiting to happen," Lindberg said.

And so the City Council is considering a resolution to urge UDOT to implement traffic safety measures as soon as possible at 4200 N. University Avenue to reduce the likelihood of accidents.

UDOT spokesman Nile Easton said they're certainly interested in students' safety, but there's a long process before they can determine the appropriate remedy for the situation. Although most people think slapping a stop light at a trouble spot is the solve-all, it's not that simple, Easton said. Sometimes the traffic light can cause more problems because traffic is stopping more frequently.

"There's a just a lot of factors that go into whether a traffic light will increase safety," he said.

Walden School of Liberal Arts has a number of projects that are incomplete, public works director Merrill Bingham told the City Council on Tuesday night. Construction crews have yet to finish an island that forces outgoing traffic to turn north onto University Avenue, but the city can't do anything to move the process along except exhort.

"It's just been a really frustrating experience," he said. "We don't have any enforcement authority."

On Thursday, Provo spokeswoman Helen Anderson said she and several other representatives from the engineering, storm water and fire department met with Diana West, school director for Walden. West told them they recently lost their contractor, and they are currently looking for a new contractor for off-site improvements.

"They're making progress," she said.

City Councilman Steve Turley said the school's choice of location and setbacks have created a lot of difficulties.

Mayor Lewis Billings agreed but also said the city has very little latitude in regulating charter schools.

"My attitude was they shouldn't have opened the school until all the safety measures were completed," he said.

The council will reconsider the resolution at a later meeting.


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