A north Orem neighborhood took the City Council by storm Tuesday night.
About 75 residents crowded into the Council Chambers to ask officials to cancel plans to build a bridge at 18th North and Main Street."The bridge would cover a canal that cuts through Main Street," City Manager Daryl Berlin said. "Main dead-ends on both sides of the canal. It has been in the city's master plan for 10 or 15 years to continue Main over the canal."
But Vern Henshaw, spokesman for the residents' group, said the dangers created would outweigh the convenience of a continuous road.
"It is a young neighborhood. There about 200 children under the age of 10. We don't teach our children to play in the streets, but sometimes they do, and this development will increase the danger."
Henshaw's group thinks the continuation of Main Street will turn it into a major collector route for the city. Members believe noise level and traffic would increase, and more cars would speed.
In a letter to the council, they said they chose to locate in the area partly because of the seclusion it offered. Increased traffic would "diminish the quality of life" they have worked so hard to achieve. They also believe the bridge would make their property values drop, the letter said.
Berlin said he was happy the group brought its concerns forward.
"They heard about the project in our newsletter and called to ask us what they could do. We told them how to bring it to the council and get it on a future agenda."
He said he didn't know if there had been a public hearing on the bridge proposal.
"Ten or 15 years ago, I don't think anyone even lived in that area, so I don't think there were complaints."
He said the bridge was proposed to provide easy access for public safety officers and maintenance crews to the area, and to increase safety to children around Northridge Elementary School by diverting some of the traffic from 50 East.
The residents' letter said Northridge Elementary would remain congested despite the possible loss of some traffic, and high-speed traffic would put children in more jeopardy.
It added that safety officers already have access to the area, and the bridge would only save 10-15 seconds. This time-savings, the letter said, was not enough reason to spend the $125,000 budgeted for the bridge in Orem's 1988-89 budget.
Berlin said the issue will be brought before the council formally before any action is taken.
"We have not bid the project out or had it engineered yet. We are glad that if people have concerns, we can hear them now."