WOODS CROSS, Utah (KUTV) — 2News initially reported about a dangerous crosswalk in a Woods Cross neighborhood on Friday. Parents have expressed concerns regarding its safety for their children who walk to and from school daily.
On Monday, 2News attempted to get answers from Woods Cross City Administrator Bryce Haderlie. After some back-and-forth, he declined to do an interview but instead provided a statement.
Surveillance video of the crosswalk next to Odyssey Elementary shows a child almost hit while crossing the intersection, in another video, cars almost crashing, and a third video of more cars barely missing each other in the intersection.
“I see near-accidents every day; I am not exaggerating, it really is every day,” a parent, Robbie Johnson told 2News on Friday.
For three years, Johnson has been fighting for a four-way stop. She said the city has done three traffic studies, but each time they told her a stop sign was not warranted.
Her latest request for a fourth traffic study was denied.
“I am really worried about the children,” she said. “There are lots of children that cross every day twice a day.”
2News reporter Emma Riley went to Haderlie on Friday to ask him about the intersection, and exchanged texts agreeing to talk on Monday.
Haderlie responded on Saturday saying we [Riley and him] would talk and that he would like to pull some information together.
On Monday afternoon after a combination of calls, voicemails, and texts, Haderlie asked for an email of questions.
Riley asked the following questions to Haderlie:
- When was the city aware of residents’ concerns?
- What has the city done?
- Why can’t the city add more stop signs?
After Haderlie received 2News’ questions, Haderlie said this wasn’t a story and that he wouldn’t go on camera.
In an email response, Haderlie said the city has heard the residents’ concerns, they have conducted traffic studies, funded a crossing guard at the intersection, increased patrol, and installed pedestrian crossing signs and speed monitoring signs.
Johnson claimed she had heard of those efforts, and she said they haven’t made much of a difference.
“I don’t think the flashing lights have helped, you have to push them, and they only stay on for 10 seconds,” she said.
The city administrator’s statement went on to say that safety is their “highest priority.” They also said studies didn’t show a need for a four-way stop at the intersection.
Here is the complete response from Bryce Haderlie, Woods Cross City Administrator:
Thank you for taking the time to allow us to respond to your questions.
In response to your request, and with your deadline, here is our response:
When were the residents’ concerns about the intersection first brought up to the city?
- The City is aware that citizens’ have expressed concerns over the past three years and routinely evaluated them against the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) which is a standard adopted by the State of Utah. The standard states: The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, under authority granted by the Highway Safety Act of 1966, decreed that traffic control devices on all streets and highways open to public travel in accordance with 23 U.S.C. 109(d) and 402(a) in each State shall be in substantial conformance with the Standards issued or endorsed by the FHWA. (Standard 07)
- The crossing was moved to its current location in 2020.
What has the city done after learning about the safety concerns from residents?
- The City has conducted three traffic safety studies (2015, 2020, 2021 and an update in 2022) using licensed traffic engineers to conduct traffic counts and determine if the warrants justify additional traffic control devices (signs).
- The City funds a crossing guard at this intersection even though the Safe Routes to School standards do not require it.
- The City has given the crossing guard additional cones to increase the safety at the intersection when the crossing guard is working.
- The Pedestrian Crossing signs and flashers on those signs have been installed to warn motorists of the crossing.
- The Wood Cross Police Department routinely monitors this intersection and enforces speed and other traffic code violations around the school and in the neighborhood. We do not have a police report of an accident at this intersection.
- Speed radar signs have been installed in the neighborhood to alert drivers of when they are speeding.
- Over the past few months, the city staff has met with citizens and is reviewing options for speed and intersection safety throughout the neighborhood.
- Our Woods Cross Police department communicates with the school and crossing guard staff to listen and respond to any safety concerns.
The city has done several traffic studies, what were those results and why can’t they place additional stop signs there?
- Each of the studies (2015, 2020 (related to Safe Routes to School), 2021 with an update opinion in 2022) have determined that the warrants were not met to justify a four-way stop sign per the MUTCD standard. The existing stop signs were installed as part of the Safe Routes to School plan.
- As mentioned in 1a above, the City must ensure that we follow the MUTCD standard. The attached studies show how adding unwarranted stop signs may not actually improve safety. In many cases, unwarranted signs contribute to a variety of negative impacts which include sound and air pollution, increased risk for pedestrians, speeding, etc. (See attached documents)
“Woods Cross City officials put the safety of our children and citizens as our highest priority. While we understand that a citizen living close to the intersection of Odyssey Elementary has expressed concerns, we have conducted numerous studies that do not warrant a four-way stop at this intersection at this time. The City will continue to use police enforcement, educating motorists and pedestrians, and following sound engineering principles to promote safety at this and all pedestrian school crossings and intersections in the community.”