|Citizens spoke against having this road by the junior high become a one-way street.|
The Huntington citizens turned out in force to voice their opinions at a public hearing to receive input on changing two streets in Huntington to one-way avenues for safety reasons. The streets proposed were 100 North Main to 100 East and 400 West 400 North to SR-31. The first road is the one that runs directly in front of the Huntington Elementary School and the Huntington Post Office. The other is the one that runs past the Canyon View Junior High and Huntington Cemetery and connects to the Huntington Canyon Road, (SR-31).
The reason stated for looking at these roads was the safety of the school children involved in accessing the Huntington Elementary and the Canyon View Junior High. The city proposed parallel parking in front of the elementary school along with the one way street.
Councilman Robert Mills said he was asked to look into the matter of safety and these two streets. He thought it might be safer if it was a one-way street.
Ted McCandless is a home owner on the 400 West 400 North corner. He said he takes his grandchildren to the elementary school and he knows there is a problem there. The cars all park weird. He suggested they paint lines along that street to organize the parking in a more functional manner. He opposed any parallel parking. He suggested a double yellow line also be painted down the center of 100 North Main to 100 East.
In regards to the 400 West 400 North road he suggested the city contact the cattlemen's association to see if anything could be done to purchase their property to bring another access to the junior high. He objected to a one-way road on 400 West 400 North.
Curt Collard, representing Canyon View Junior High read a letter from the school to the Huntington city council addressing their concerns. They adamantly opposed the one-way road idea by their school and listed four main objections to the proposal. They stated a one way street would be inconvenient to those using the junior high. One-way traffic would increase traffic in the residential areas surrounding the junior high. When Canyon View hosts events it would bring a large influx of traffic into the residential areas. A lot of the visitors to Canyon View now use SR-31 to access the junior high and that traffic would then have to flow through the residential areas. There are bus stops along 400 North and a one-way street would not eliminate safety concerns in the area. The road to the junior high is narrow, but Collard stated a curb and gutter and sidewalk should be installed for those students walking to the junior high. The guard rail currently in place now, needs to be removed because the students don't use it. When it is snowy or muddy, the students walk in the road to avoid the mud. The junior high volunteered to do snow removal on a sidewalk should one be installed. Collard also mentioned the need for more signage in the junior high area with speed limits clearly posted. "Safety is our main concern and we appreciate the opportunity to offer input," said Collard.
Duane Collard, a resident near the junior high said he has been a voice crying for 20 years to get a sidewalk in there for the junior high students. He said they have been very fortunate no accidents have taken place there to date. He said he has watched as thousand of dollars has been spent on curb and gutter around the city where no one lives and even Ray Grange's pig pens got curb and gutter before the area surrounding the junior high. "A one way street would be a rash decision. We need to look at it and design it. We need to solve this issue, but not make it a one way street," said Collard. He invited the city council to come up and he would walk over the area with them to look for possible solutions.
Sharon Earl spoke next, she said there are tons of kids who cut through the field across from her home to access the junior high. If the 400 West 400 North road were made one way it would increase the traffic on her street where the road is narrow with no curb and gutter or sidewalks.
Courtney Guymon who lives on the corner at 400 North said that intersection needs to be realigned and the stop sign stops the traffic too far back and people can't see the cars that are stopped or they don't know when it's their turn. On the road in front of the elementary he said one way traffic there would just push the traffic down the street towards the school and impact the school more than now. He thinks that street should be painted. "A one way street is not the answer and all those stop signs impede the traffic. As a property owner I am against it," said Guymon.
Dan Johnson spoke and said he lives in the 400 North area and he appreciates the concerns for the safety of the school children. He didn't feel that any more rules needed to be added. "Enforce the laws we have now and make them effective," said Johnson. He voiced his opposition for parallel parking at the elementary school saying that children would then be forced to maneuver around vehicles in a dangerous way; putting them behind cars backing into parking spots.
|Citizens spoke against having this road by the Huntington Elementary become a one-way street.|
Becky Jorgensen said that kids have a tendency to walk in the street and not watch for cars. She feels there are too many cars parked at the elementary and another parking lot should be found for the teachers to park. She said the old maintenance building of the city's could be torn down and a parking lot could be placed there or the empty lot across from the elementary could be purchased for additional parking for the elementary school.
Ray Rowley said as he has observed the traffic around the school and the post office, most of the traffic goes in and gets their mail and then back out to Main Street, if the street is one way it would force all the traffic to pass in front of the school and force the traffic into the area where the school kids are. "A one-way street won't accomplish anything," said Rowley.
Julia Foote said her daughter was hit by a car by the ball field and she commends the city for putting up stop signs in the areas surrounding the elementary school. She thinks it slows the people down. She too agreed that a one-way street along the school would result in bringing the flow of traffic deeper into the school area.
Roger Swenson who is the transportation supervisor for the Emery School District said he had been in the area at the junior high to observe and on Tuesday morning he had observed four students walking in the morning and nine walking in the afternoon along 400 North. If this road were one-way it would force more vehicles onto SR-31 which is already a busy road. He said the situations at both schools need to be addressed and the school district wants to work with the city to address the safety concerns.
Sheriff LaMar Guymon said they must look at creative ways to make the areas in question safer. He stressed the need for people to stop at stop signs and obey all the traffic rules and laws. Everyone needs to work together to protect the children.
Marie Johnson, school board member said they have met before on the safety issues and nothing has come of it. She disagreed with any parallel parking in front of the school. She said the school board has been in contact with the cattlemens association and with the property owner across from the elementary school. She said long term solutions are needed and ideas and comments should be considered.
Natalie Collard said she was concerned with the parents at the elementary stopping in the middle of the road to drop off children and ignoring the traffic laws. "Parents need to be responsible for the safety of their children," said Collard.
Denise Chapman, teacher at Huntington Elementary said the school has a drop-off zone at the rear of the school on the gym and lunch room side. That has been in place and ignored for years by parents. Numerous letters have been sent home specifically telling parents where to drop students off. The kindergarten kids have been dropped off and picked up on this side for years. The bus unloading and loading was moved several years ago to the south side on Center Street to avoid any conflict with student drop-off by parents. "If parents would pull around there wouldn't be a problem. Students can access the school through that lunch room door," said Chapman.
Vee Guymon said another issue is people accessing the cemetery. A lot of older drivers visit the cemetery and then would have to leave by the canyon road and she thinks that would present a bigger problem that what there is now in that area.
Several speakers mentioned the need for ticketing of drivers disobeying the traffic laws, especially the parking in the road to let out children in front of the elementary school and ignoring flashing red lights on the school buses.
After taking public comment the city council discussed the comments made and will make recommendations at a future time.
Those attending the public meeting spoke against the one-way street idea, but would support other safety measures to make the areas surrounding the schools safer for all involved.