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3100 S. widening fuels frustration in W.V.

For the record, the transportation open house at City Hall last week was designed to collect public input on long-range city plans for improving roads, expanding bus service and building a $43.5 million transportation hub.

But most residents who turned out for the public forum had a totally different topic in mind: the widening of 3100 South west of I-215.And they're not happy about it.

Never mind that the 3100 South project isn't even included in the Major Investment Study (MIS) being conducted by the Wilbur Smith Associates consulting group.

Ignore the fact the widening work is already planned, funded and being coordinated with a huge water/sewer line upgrade that will be built this year by the Granger-Hunter Improvement District.

Skip all the slick formalities and tea-party pleasantries, they said.

Turning 3100 South into a five-lane road with more traffic to whiz by five adjacent schools and trap existing residents in their driveways during rush hours isn't their idea of transportation progress.

"We're concerned about the additional traffic in front of our homes," said Marna Lutton, who lives near 3100 South at about 2700 West. "It already confines residents in our area to their homes and driveways for at least 30 minutes every night.

"We just hope that city officials will become as concerned about the traffic and our safety as we are," she said. "This (project) looks good on paper, but I don't think it's going to help our situation."

Sharon Ormond said people who live near 3100 South have been voicing their fears for months but haven't received much in the way of answers.

For one thing, she said, the widening will eliminate parking strips and butt curb and gutter right up to the edge of residential sidewalks, posing a hazard to children walking to school and causing other problems.

"How do we remove the snow?" tossed up onto sidewalks by big city trucks, she wondered, or the sand and salt that will be hurled into peoples' yards.

"Instead of grass and trees, we'll all have salt-filled land," she said. "I don't think there's been enough forethought on this . . . I would like to see a lot more answers than we're getting."

Several people including Ormond and Maxine McCleary said they would like to see the improvements include burying the power lines that now crisscross the sky above their homes.

"I hate the power lines," McCleary said. "They're overhead in my back yard already. But I talked to both the city and Utah Power last year, and they said the lines couldn't be moved underground because it's too expensive."

She and another area resident, Ernie Gomez, also say they're worried about wider roads encouraging more heavy truck traffic in an area with many school-age pedestrians and lightly constructed homes that are structurally threatened by truck-caused road rumble.

"There are four elementary schools and a junior high along that road," Gomez said. "It doesn't need to be a highway. We need to leave it as a residential area . . . and the city needs to address the safety of our kids."

Dave Fisher, co-chairman of "Eyes of the West" neighborhood watch and community affairs coalition in that area, said his group is still meeting with city representatives trying to work out problems the road widening will create for residents living between 4000 and 4800 South.

"The city is oblivious to the needs of people who send their kids to West Lake Junior High," he said. "We're trying to work out solutions that will help maintain the residential atmosphere, avoid left-turn bottlenecks and improve traffic flow to the E Center.

"It's the little things that will help," Fisher added.

Gomez said it's still not too late to consider upgrading 2700 South instead, completing the section of the road to the west and reconnecting with 3100 South west of the residential neighborhoods.

But unless the city does something to restrict the traffic flow on 3100 South, he warned, "there will be kids killed on that road."