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HERRIMAN — Public safety versus popularity: it's an issue Herriman city leaders are dealing with.
Residents living along Emmeline Drive (14135 South) say cars are going way too fast through their neighborhood. They took their concerns to city leaders, who in turn figured out a solution to slow drivers down: a "road diet."
But it's a solution many of those residents don't like.
The homeowners KSL News spoke with Tuesday said speeds on Emmeline Drive have been getting faster, especially along the small stretch between Friendship Drive and Mirabella Lane, where there is a downhill curve in the road.
"Road diets" are often conversions of four-lane undivided roads into three lanes (two through lanes and a center turn lane. ...In other words, existing space is reallocated; the overall area remains the same.
Road diets can offer potential benefits to both vehicles and pedestrians. ... (They) may reduce vehicle speeds and vehicle interactions during lane changes, which potentially could reduce the number and severity of vehicle-to-vehicle crashes. Pedestrians may benefit because they have fewer lanes of traffic to cross, and because motor vehicles are likely to be moving more slowly.
"It gets pretty fast," said Shari Lambert, who lives along Emmeline.
"It's one of those things you look at and go, ‘Golly, I don't know if I would have moved here," said Lori Clark, Lambert's neighbor.
"We've had a few accidents that have been in the news, with excessive speeds," said Herriman City Councilman Mike Day.
Because of that, the city spent almost two years studying the road, speeds and different ways to try and slow drivers down. They put in narrow road stripes, shrinking lane width from the usual 12 feet to 10 feet.
In the final report, average speeds went from 30 miles an hour before the striping to 26 miles an hour after. Day said that 4-mph reduction is considered a success.
But residents like Lambert and Clark don't want the striping.
"We don't like it because it's ugly," Lambert said. "But it's not just that it's ugly, (it's) that this should feel like a neighborhood road, and it doesn't."
We don't like it because it's ugly. But it's not just that it's ugly, (it's) that this should feel like a neighborhood road, and it doesn't.
–Shari Lambert, Herriman resident
The road has since been repaved, and was about to be striped. That was, until residents met with city leaders last week. Residents said when those temporary stripes were in place, it made their neighborhood road feel like a city road, and they feel speeds increased.
"I think when they added the lines it changed that perception to ‘now it's a thoroughfare,'" Clark said.
Their stance put city council members in an awkward position, balancing what residents want versus statistics saying the stripes worked.
"It was a tough position to be in, but certainly I respect their opinion and see where they're coming from," Day said.
Those residents also say their stretch of Emmeline wasn't part of that study, and they feel it should have been because the topography is different there than along the rest of the road. They think installing stop signs at every intersection is one solution, but city leaders said they have the statistics and striping works best.
In the end, the two groups reached a compromise: There will be white stripes along the sides of the road, but no yellow stripe down the middle.