Mom seeks to bring greater safety to SLC school zone and crosswalk

Nov 19, 2021, 9:23 AM | Updated: 9:25 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A mother was trying to draw attention Thursday to speeding and other bad driver behavior in a school zone along a busy road next to an elementary school.

Laura Turner said she had regularly been out to the crosswalk outside Backman Elementary, located at 601 N. 1500 West, and had already seen too many close calls.

She routinely has videotaped cars she believes are speeding or behaving badly, taking time to note any license plate information she can record.

“What I don’t want is for a child to get killed, hit, be hurt,” Turner said as she stood at the crosswalk after school Thursday afternoon, referencing the crossing guard standing near her. “I don’t want her to get hurt. I don’t want anybody to be hurt.”

While the crossing guard at the school zone crosswalk declined to be interviewed, she told KSL she averages about three near-misses a week — even when dressed in a reflective orange vest and carrying a stop sign.

“It makes me really upset, makes me mad,” Turner said.

Turner said she had already appealed to the police.

“Unfortunately they’re short-staffed so we can’t have one (officer) every single day,” she said.

A Salt Lake City Police Department spokesperson said officers were aware of issues in the area with the school zone and have been out enforcing in the area before, but they also had several other school zones in the city where speeding was a problem.

Turner also hoped to see something along the lines of flashing lights installed to the side of the road at the crosswalk as well as more significant lighting and signage further ahead of the school zone.

Jon Larsen, Salt Lake City Transportation Division director, said plans were in the works to overhaul the 600 North/700 North corridor for accessibility, mobility and safety.

Among the improvements that are expected in the future, Larsen said, is an enhanced crosswalk near 1300 West that will extend across 600 North.

Larsen said that was likely set to be installed sometime next year.

“600 North, you know, it’s a busy street and people drive fast,” he said. “And really it divides the community.”

He hoped all the changes planned for the area would make a long-term difference.

“We want it to feel safe and comfortable to walk your kids to school and for kids to walk on their own to school,” Larsen said.

Turner said she would continue to push for improved safety, fearing somebody someday might wind up injured or worse.

She and police alike urged drivers to obey speed limits and traffic laws.

“Slow down in the school district zones!” Turner exclaimed.

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Mom seeks to bring greater safety to SLC school zone and crosswalk