Committee Examines How To Slow Down Drivers

Mud Springs traffic counts triple in last few months

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Renewed discussion on how to slow traffic on Mud Springs and speed traffic on the highway and other areas of town will headline a Surface Transportation Advisory Committee (STAC) meeting meet Friday, Feb 29 at 4 p.m. in the Payson Town Hall council chambers.

The crowded agenda for the committee that advises the town council on traffic issues includes discussion of "traffic calming" strategies, like speed humps, striping, signs and traffic islands on Mud Springs and Phoenix Street, in the wake of traffic study suggesting volume has nearly tripled since the road was connected to Granite Dells several months ago.

The committee gathered suggestions from more than 100 residents at a recent hearing and on Friday will ponder those suggestions. The advisory committee will then decide which options give the best chance of preventing the extension of Mud Springs to Highway 260 from becoming a dangerous or gridlocked back door bypass route connecting the Beeline and Highway 260.

Town Engineer LaRon Garrett will then turn those options into a proposal with a price tag that will undergo another public hearing before returning as a recommendation to the town council.

Although many residents still adamantly oppose any extension of Mud Springs, STAC's discussion will remain focused on how to slow or redirect traffic after the extension is completed, said Garrett.

STAC "doesn't have any authority to change that, right now the council direction is to move forward," said Garrett.

Meanwhile, the town has also completed a traffic study that documents a sharp increase in traffic on Mud Springs since it was extended to connect to Granite Dells, which doglegs and intersects the highway near Safeway.

Last April when Mud Springs stopped before reaching Granite Dells, it carried 441 cars in a 24-hour period, at an average speed of 33 miles per hour.

In February -- after connecting to Granite Dells -- the daily traffic count jumped nearly threefold to 1,351 cars per day, traveling at an average speed of 35 miles per hour.

Garrett said that traffic volume may already reflect the impact of the highway bypassers.

"I think if you connect Mud Springs directly to the highway, the numbers would not change substantially," said Garrett.

However, efforts to determine whether connecting Mud Springs has affected traffic down on Phoenix Street have been hampered by the perplexing theft of four of the town's $1,300 traffic counters. The thin box containing a magnetic counter is nailed into the asphalt, but someone has repeatedly stolen counters on West Forest, blocking a traffic study there and hampering the town's ability to monitor traffic elsewhere.

Several other major traffic topics will also face the committee on Wednesday, including:

• A general discussion about changes to improve traffic flow and reduce accidents on the intersecting highways that run through the heart of town, said Garrett.

  • The review of a list of streets on which traffic studies suggest an increase in the speed limit would help move cars more quickly around town.
  • The annual review of the priority list for future street improvements. Currently, the top three priorities for road improvements that rely on town funds rather than developer funds are the extension of Mud Springs, Phoenix Street between Highway 87 and Sycamore and Frontier Street from Highway 87 to McLane.

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