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Kaysville seeks action on risky intersection

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KAYSVILLE — City officials are studying possible ways to improve pedestrian safety at Main and Center Street, dubbed by the city's Safety Committee as the most dangerous crosswalk in town.

Located just south of the Kaysville Theater, the crosswalk traverses a four-lane busy highway with limited street lighting.

"Is the city willing to spend some money?" Debbie Cutler, a member of the Safety Committee, asked the City Council at its July 18 meeting.

The council later directed city staff to make a recommendation on what is the best course of action for the intersection.

Cutler said there are some other dangerous intersections in town, but this one has been on her list for 2 1/2 years and she'd like some action before someone else gets hurt there.

Cars line the street at night as people attend the movie theater, and that makes visibility even worse, she said. More than 100 people signed a petition saying they want the intersection improved.

City engineer Andy Thompson said a number of things could be done there. But even though Main Street is a state road, the city will have to pay for and maintain whatever safety enhancements are used.

One of the more promising possible improvements involves putting embedded lights into the crosswalk. These lights would be activated with the push of a button by pedestrians and theoretically safely light their way across the road.

However, Thompson said this concept hasn't been widely tested and no similar systems have yet been used in Utah.

He'll be checking in some other states to see how well the lighted crosswalks work. Estimated cost of that system is $20,000 to $30,000. A big issue is how well the embedded lights would withstand snowplows.

Another possible option is extending a portion of the curb outward at each end of the crosswalk. Thompson said that method would allow pedestrians to get partway out into the road and also be able to see past cars parked along the street. He also believes this system makes some drivers go slower because the street narrows. No cost estimate is available yet for that option.

Thompson said the city can't consider simply adding a traffic signal at the intersection because it doesn't have enough traffic through Center Street to legally allow that.

Councilman Stephen Whitesides said the city has no money set aside for any safety improvements at the intersection, but it could consider shifting money from another fund if necessary.

Darrell Horne, another council member, believes there are two big issues — where the money comes from and what is the first safety priority in the city.

Cutler said the Main and Center Street intersection has more complaints than any other in the city.

"Let's get something done," Councilman Christopher Snell said.

E-mail: lynn@desnews.com