Residents along narrow, winding Mutton Hollow Road are voicing the same complaint as many other Davis County residents: Traffic is endangering their children as they walk to school in the aftermath of the school district's decision to cut back on busing.
But these residents have a slightly different type of request. They want the county to do something as long as it doesn't involve building sidewalks.Sidewalks are too expensive to build and difficult to clear in the winter for many of the homeowners along the road, which lies in an unincorporated pocket of the county between Layton and Kaysville.
A delegation of homeowners met recently with the County Commission to ask for help, citing the increase in traffic and several close encounters between children and cars.
Spokesman Debra Omer showed a videotape of traffic on the road, noting many of the vehicles exceed the 25 mph speed limit and an average of one car every 15 seconds.
The situation will worsen when one end of the road, currently closed for construction, reopens in several weeks, Omer told the commissioners.
The road is being widened in some areas, which the residents are paying for, but the construction plans don't call for curb, gutter and sidewalks. Installing just curb and gutter along the stretch being widened would add $200,000 to the project, estimates Sid Smith, county public works director.
That's money the county doesn't have, Smith said.
Residents in several cities have petitioned their city councils to improve or build sidewalks along several narrow streets, citing the school district's decision to comply with state busing standards.
That decision made some 3,800 students no longer eligible for busing.
But Mutton Hollow Road residents don't want sidewalks, citing the cost, their semi-rural atmosphere, and snow-removal problems in the winter. Some property owners have between 200 feet and 300 feet of frontage on the road and don't want to be saddled with that much maintenance.
Stricter enforcement of the speed limit by the sheriff's department has helped some, with the number of citations along the road increasing, according to residents.
It also showed the majority of speeders being cited are from their own neighborhood, mostly subdivision dwellers who use Mutton Hollow Road to get to U.S. 89 or into Kaysville.
Commissioner Gayle Stevenson told the parents the county is limited in what it can do. The commission has little influence over school district decisions on busing, Stevenson said.
And changing speed limits, adding stop signs, and other traffic enforcement options all have to meet federal guidelines.
Speed bumps become a liability to the county of someone hits one and either damages or loses control of a vehicle, according to Smith.
One positive suggestion is to paint a stripe along the edge of the newly widened road as a designated pedestrian and bike lane, Stevenson said.
"We're limited in what we can do, but where we can address a situation and do you some good, we will," Stevenson said.