The City Council spent some time Tuesday night "cruising State."
Members looked at curbs, gutters, parking and landscaping to help them plan a multi-million dollar project to upgrade State Street between 1800 South and 850 North.The field trip was a follow-up to the council's last work session, where Public Works Director Jack Jones told council members of the state's plans to upgrade the road.
"The highway department will have money to expand the street, gutters and sidewalks in two years," he said.
"When it gets ready to design this, we want input."
City officials hope to time their own improvements - such as adding street lights and stop lights, and improving sewer and gas lines - to coincide with the state's work.
"The real impact will be on business," City Manager Daryl Berlin said at the previous meeting. "The project will take a year to 18 months. It will be a serious interruption to business, and we don't want to stretch it out."
City officials plan to ask that State Street have three lanes going each direction, with parallel parking space that could be turned into a fourth lane in ten years to accommodate increased traffic.
Jones has said State Street near the University Mall handles 39,000 cars a day. If traffic keeps increasing at the current rate, the extra lane would be needed.
The field trip also helped the council assessparking needs. Council members have been concerned that some businesses could fail without on-street parking for their patrons. Members have discussed the possibility of reserving space for off-street parking at the cost of a traffic lane, or recommending businesses go together to build parking garages.
Council members have also discussed whether Orem should try to standardize sidewalks, gutters and planter strips for the entire length of State, or just sections of it.
The council needs to decide whether it prefers a gutter, planting strip and walk, or a combination gutter and wider walks. The wide walk with no planter strip would eliminate landscaping problems. Many strips have been filled in with asphalt or taken over by weeds, members said.
But the wider walks, set right next to the road, would put pedestrians closer to traffic if the parking lane were removed, and it could be covered by plowed snow in the winter.
Berlin said no decisions were made Tuesday night.
"We were just collecting information. There will be much more discussion before we have a plan to present to UDOT."