ST. GEORGE — The way people drive on 700 East may change by the time school is back in session, according to city officials.
At least two four-way stops and possibly a dedicated bicycle path are being planned for 700 East in the near future. Additional speed and traffic-calming measures also are being considered for other intersections along the way.
Specifically, plans to install four-way stops at Tabernacle Street and 600 East are in the works, with the potential creation of a bike lane on the east side of 700 East from 100 South to 600 South that may eliminate roadside parking in the area.
These and other options were discussed during a St. George City Council work meeting held July 13. The discussion was spurred by a “pedestrian study” conducted on 1000 East and 700 East — two of the streets that encompass the majority of the Utah Tech University campus.
With traffic and pedestrian issues on 1000 East not raising any major concerns for city staff, the study focused primarily on 700 East.
The goals of the study are to increase the safety and visibility of pedestrians, lower the time it takes someone to cross the street, focus on pedestrians on designated crossings, expand the city’s trail network, and have any new improvements comply with the city’s streets policy, active transportation plan and downtown plan.
Study results showed that an estimated 8,000 vehicles travel up and down 700 East daily, leaving a gap of some 53 seconds for people to cross between cars, which isn’t enough time for some people to cross the street, a city staffer told the City Council.
Due to this limited time, options were presented to encourage motorists to slow down at “crossing gaps” (intersections).
At Tabernacle Street, curb extensions on either side of the street would be added to narrow the entry onto 700 East in addition to the installation of the four-way stop.
At 100 South, where a traffic light exists, the street corners would be reconstructed to comply more with the Americans with Disabilities Act by increasing ramp accessibility off the street. A two-lane bicycle path on the east side of the street, starting at 100 South and running toward 600 South, also would be created. The bicycle path could be separated from the rest of the street by a raised median.
300 South could see curb extensions and a continuation of the two-lane bike path on the east side of the road. It was noted during the council meeting that Utah Tech University officials are interested in something being done at this intersection as it is heavily used by students going to and from the university.
“I think that would be really beneficial for the university, the students and pedestrians,” Councilwoman Danielle Larkin said of the proposed improvements at 300 South.
A second four-way stop would be installed at 600 South, along with curb extensions and the end of the two-lane bike path on the north side of the intersection.
Council members also debated whether to phase in the improvements or do them all at once. Councilwoman Natalie Larsen repeatedly voiced her opposition to the latter option.
“I think all of them is too many,” she said. “I’d just hate to see it all at once.”
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