Stac To Traffic: Calm Down A Bit

Committee adopts moderate measures to slow Phoenix St. traffic

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About 10 measures to slow down traffic on Phoenix Street and Mud Springs ought to be enough to keep residents safe and satisfied, the Surface Transportation Advisory Committee concluded on Wednesday.

STAC members quietly embraced a modest set of changes to keep an extended Mud Springs from becoming a de facto highway bypass, after months of debate and furor that affected a mayoral election and once drew angry crowds to Town Hall.

The STAC committee is now dominated by people once critical of the proposed Mud Springs extension, but most seemed satisfied with a succession of stop signs, speed humps, street narrowing and roadway striping recommended by Town Engineer LaRon Garrett.

Garrett offered a list of 18 possible measures to slow traffic, in case too many people try to turn off Highway 87 at Phoenix Street and make their way up and down hilly residential streets to Highway 260 along an extended Mud Springs Road.

Garrett organized the changes into three tiers and suggested that the town might implement the measures in the second and third tiers if the level one measures don't work.

"Seems to me there are so many (traffic slowing measures) here," said committee member Jack Jasper. "We wouldn't need all of them to make the street undesirable as an alternative route. Some of these things are overkill for what we're trying to do."

"If there's a problem" not solved by the level one changes, "then we can always go to level two," said Garrett.

Although the committee seemed agreed that only the level one changes are necessary initially, STAC Chairman Tom Loeffler said that people belonging to two homeowners' associations had expressed concerns about the impact of some of the proposed changes. Some worried about losing street parking and the impact of street narrowing

So before voting on a recommendation to the town council, the committee asked newly appointed committee member Bob Dalby to take Garrett's recommendations back to the homeowners' associations to work out any objections.

The 10 level one ideas essentially endorsed by STAC include:

  • Place stop sign at Mud Springs and Highway 260.
  • Retain existing roundabout at Granite Dells.
  • Narrow Mud Springs south of Miller Road
  • Install a raised crosswalk north of Frontier Elementary School
  • Replace with a speed hump the existing three-way stop at Mud Springs and Cedar
  • Keep existing four-way stop at Mud Springs and Phoenix
  • Develop a trail through Rim View Heights and eliminate street parking.
  • Develop bike lane stripping and eliminate street parking through Elk Ridge and Pinon Ridge.
  • Install raised crosswalk at the drainage crossings on Phoenix Street.
  • Install speed hump to replace three-way stop at Phoenix and Ash.

That list of options set off a brief discussion focusing on the difference between speed bumps and speed humps -- since Garrett's plan envisioned humps at several places to slow drivers down to 25 miles an hour.

A speed bump is just a ridge of rounded asphalt, which can be less jarring at higher speeds than lower speeds.

A broader, sloped, often stripped speed hump is engineered for the speed limit on the road. A driver doing 25 miles an hour would barely notice the speed hump, but a driver doing 35 or 45 miles an hour would feel like he'd crashed into something.

Garrett said if the level one measures don't slow traffic enough, the town can install additional measures. That includes level two measures like narrowing the street in straight-aways, installing a traffic circle at Phoenix and Milk Ranch Point and installing more speed humps on Phoenix.

Level three ideas include things like diverter islands to prevent traffic from turning onto Phoenix Street from Highway 87 or at other key intersections like Frontier and Mud Springs or Phoenix and Ponderosa or Phoenix and Sycamore.

However, the commissioners generally concluded that the street won't carry enough traffic diverted off the highway to justify the inconvenience levels two and three would inflict on residents.

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