Crosswalk installed for pedestrian access to Mountview Park
Jan 18, 2017 04:09PM
● By Cassie Goff
The new pedestrian-activated crosswalk in front of Mountview Park on Fort Union Blvd. will provide residents from the other side of the street with a direct route to the park. Prior to the installation of this crosswalk, pedestrians had to venture to one of the two main intersections to cross the boulevard. (Cassie Goff/City Journals)
Pedestrian Crosswalk [3 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
Cottonwood Heights commuters may have noticed a new resident in the past few months. He found a home in front of Mountview Park, around 1620 E. Fort Union Blvd. This new resident is a pedestrian-friendly crosswalk.
Discussions about the installation of this crosswalk began in April 2016. Some comments from residents brought the need for this crosswalk to the city staff’s attention. Many residents residing in the neighborhoods across from the park would have to walk up to the intersection of 1700 E. Fort Union Blvd., or all the way down to the intersection at Park Center Drive and Fort Union Blvd., in order to cross the busy street.
During the city council meeting on April 26, Public Works Maintenance Field Supervisor Mike Allen discussed the installation of a high-intensity-activated crosswalk (HAWK) for that area. HAWK crosswalks consist of a red light that drivers must stop at when activated. These crosswalks are exceptionally common in the downtown area of Salt Lake.
Installation of the HAWK crosswalk was anticipated to begin in September, reliant on some issues being resolved. One of those issues was the location. “It has to be at least 100 feet from the other entrance (of the park). We may have to move it west,” Allen said.
A suggested way to alleviate this problem was to make the exit of Mountview Park into a ride-in and ride-out only, Allen said.
“Utilities may be the biggest hold-up,” Allen said. “We need lighting on both sides of the street. The overhead power lines may cause some issues.”
On May 10, appraisals for the crosswalk had been diverted to the 11 surrounding property owners. As the process continued, the staff members were open to comments and suggestions from the public.
“One area that would concern the crosswalk installation had about 10 comments,” Allen said.
Alternate plans for the crosswalk were reported on June 14, as some of the requirements for a HAWK crosswalk were not going to be met for the proposed location. Specifically, the desired location would not meet the standard because some of the neighboring driveways were too close. This small distinction would necessitate left-turn lanes into the neighboring condos as well as into the park.
Instead, “we are going to try to get a pedestrian-activated signal there,” Allen said. “Design engineers and UDOT suggested that.”
The main difference between a HAWK crosswalk and a pedestrian-activated signal is the color of the light. A HAWK crosswalk requires a red stoplight, where the cars are required to stop as long as the light remains red. A pedestrian-activated crosswalk allows for flashing yellow lights, where cars are not required to stop when they are on. They notify the driver of a yield and to anticipate a stop for a pedestrian.
“The HAWK crosswalk and the pedestrian-activated signals aren’t much different,” Allen said. “They are a lot different for the budget, though.”
The decision was made to move forward with the pedestrian-activated crosswalk. The project began in late October of last year with construction lasting approximately two weeks. By the time the holidays rolled around, the crosswalk was in full swing.
“It doesn’t mess with traffic patterns as much,” Allen said. “If no one is in the crosswalk, the cars can drive though. Traffic flow will be better.”
While the crosswalk initially experienced some minor technical difficulties, it is currently fully functioning. Over the winter season, it hasn’t experienced much pedestrian traffic, but anticipated use for the summer is high. Hopefully, it will allow the park to be more accessible for many residents.