Saturday, November 01, 2008

13th East due for a facelift.

13th East used to be a state highway, owned and operated by the Utah Department of Transportation. For some reason, unbeknown to me, about a year ago ownership transferred over to the City of Salt Lake. Since they've been getting calls about complaints on safety on this road for the past 20+ years, they decided to have a safety audit done on the road, now that they can do something about it. From their audit, I found out that over 22,000 cars go past my house on the average day. What does that many cars look like? See that car over there? Just picture it 22,000 times. Or just sit on my front porch for a 24 hour period. Any of you who have driven up and/or down 13th East from the freeway exit up to the University of Utah, know that is is a myriad of different configurations. From the freeway to just past 21st south, it's 3 lanes either way, with a median. 21st South to 17th South (about a half mile) it's only 1 lane each way, no parking, with a middle turn lane. The next half mile has one lane each way, no middle lane, but parking on both sides of the street (except for during rush hours). After that it goes to 2 lanes each way with no parking, then 2 lanes each way with parking, then 3 lanes each way no parking and ends up 2 lanes each way with parking. I didn't write all that because you need the specifics, just to emphasize the inconsistency in the road. The city's plan is to make it consistent from 5th South to 21st south, at least as far as motor vehicles are concerned. Without changing the width of the street at all, (widening the street has been a fear of us residents for a while), the idea is to make it 1 lane of traffic either way with a middle turn lane the entire way. The extra width will be taken up with a bike path from 5th south to 17th south and parking on one or both sides depending on road width. Eventually the bike path will go all the way down to 21st South, but that will require actual construction, since the deep gutters and driveways along that stretch are not conducive to a bike path. (17th So. to 21st So. will actually stay the same for now).
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1 comment:

A Paperback Writer said...

I liked it better as a highway.
It's a major street, like 7th and State. People need 13th to get to the U and to Westminister. First the city screwed up 15th, so that you can't travel faster than 10 miles an hour on it, so that pushed more traffic onto 13th, and now people are whining about that! Foothill's jammed heading north in the AM and south in the PM. 13th and 15th used to take the overflow heading those directions, but now there's whining.
Unless they put a Trax line in along one of those streets, cars must travel there somewhere.
And why would anyone put a bike lane in on 13th?! On the now turtle speed 15th, there's a bike lane. And the bike traffic's not THAT heavy. Why can't bikers stick to the slow street and leave cars to the faster one? They can head west 2 blocks at 17th S. if they're going to Westminister.
There was some talk awhile back about closing off the end of my street to make it a circle to reduce traffic. I was adamantly against it. I like the heavier than average traffic on my street because it keeps kids from playing in it, encourages people to keep their dogs restrained, and keeps the skateboarders from completely taking over the neighborhood. I'd rather have cars going past than kids running and screaming up and down constantly. (If they want to do that, they need to move to Herriman.)