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MOST AT MEET GIVE RELUCTANT OK TO WIDEN 500 SOUTH

SHARE MOST AT MEET GIVE RELUCTANT OK TO WIDEN 500 SOUTH

About 30 residents have reluctantly given their approval to a proposal to widen 500 South from 100 East to 400 East.

During a public hearing this week, City Engineer Jack Balling told residents that 500 South is an increasingly busy street that must be widened to remain safe and to meet traffic demands.The city is recommending a plan to widen the section of street to 54 feet to accommodate two lanes in each direction as well as a left-hand turn lane in the middle.

The widening would swallow up existing buffer strips between the street and sidewalks - not requiring the residents to give up any property.

However, utilities such as street lights, fire hydrants and water meters would have to be moved onto the residents' property.

Balling asked that the residents sign an agreement granting the city a 10-foot easement.

A survey of the residents in attendance at the public hearing indicated that the majority would be willing to sign the agreement.

At a cost of $115,000, the project would begin in July and take about eight weeks, Balling said.

Many of the residents at the public hearing were elderly people who have lived many years on 500 South.

Several expressed interest in zoning the area for commercial use so the residents could sell their homes and move to quieter locations.

"Its' getting to be a dangerous deal to get across the street," said Kelly Rilley, who lives at 132 E. 500 South. "The old people who live on 500 South are entitled to a little consideration."

Another elderly resident complained that it's difficult for residents to get out of their driveways into the heavy traffic, crosswalks are not clearly marked and motorists constantly exceed the 30 mph speed limit.

"We'll paint the crosswalks and tell the police to keep issuing citations," Balling responded.

The engineer said 13,000 to 15,000 cars use the street every day and that the use is increasing about 3.5 percent per year. Fifteen to 25 accidents occur each year on the section of street in question.

Balling said similar improvements on 500 South between 500 West and 100 East reduced accidents from 76 per year on that section to 45.