Sandy City traffic engineers pave over a crosswalk used by Mount Jordan Middle School students
Nov 10, 2023, 8:26 PM
SANDY — For months, parents who live around the location where the 300 East crosswalk used to be have called the mayor’s office, hoping the painted lines will return.
“Merely painting a road doesn’t always lead to an increase in safety,” said Sandy City engineer Ryan Kump. “Our attempt was to make it safer by consolidating the walks. It’s obvious that parents feel it would be better to have multiple options for walking routes. But creating a walking route with more and more options – dilutes the impact of the safe route.”
In July, Sandy City engineers reevaluated crosswalk locations around 9800 South. Based on field reviews that took place on good weather days in the spring, engineers saw about 5 to 10 students crossing at the 300 East and Sego Lily Drive crosswalk location.
The Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices mandates the standards road managers use on streets across the nation. These federal regulations stipulate crosswalks can’t be within 600 feet of each other. And having the 300 East crosswalk and the 175 East crosswalk coexist, broke that federal rule.
“It just seemed like a recipe for disaster,” Kammie Kirkham-Herritt, mother of two, said. “It’s time to use common sense over federal regulations. So, from 7th East to 175 East with no crosswalk in between?! Our kids are being asked to walk about a block and ½ one way about three blocks the other direction out of their way – especially in inclement weather; these kids are going to jaywalk.”
Many parents said that the jaywalking continues despite having conversations with their students.
“There’s a little game going with the kids. The way they stop traffic now is pushing the youngest kid into the road, and he will stop traffic for the rest of them,” Kirkham-Herritt said.
The Canyons School District had police officers out helping to monitor traffic earlier this week during school release times.
“These teenage drivers coming from Jordan High School are going fast,” Rosie Getts, mother of three, said. “They are on their phones, and they are going faster than 30 mph. Whether it’s seven kids or the 30 kids who live on this side of the road…. it’s important we have this extra crosswalk.”
Sandy City engineers said they are listening. They will be conducting more traffic evaluations to determine which direction students are walking and where the trouble spots are.
“We don’t want an added crosswalk to be more of a surprise to drivers who are not paying attention,” Kump said. “By having a single location, it creates more driver awareness and expectations as to where the school crosswalk is – versus kids walking back and forth over the entire length of the road.”
The crosswalk was not staffed with a crossing guard. And city officials said they prefer flashing lights in crosswalks over flags, as the flags go missing.
The Mount Jordan School Community Council approved the safe walking route during their October meeting. Based on the meeting minutes, council members advocated for another crosswalk and a stop sign for buses.
Kump said city surveyors noticed only 70% of the walking-only students actually walk to and from school.
The city will continue to hold evaluations on Sego Lily Drive.