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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Residents concerned about neighborhood roads

Jun 19, 2017 10:43AM ● By Cassie Goff

A new home development by Danish Road is causing concerns among the local residents. (Google Maps)

By Cassie Goff  | [email protected]
During the Cottonwood Heights City Council business meetings, road issues and their relative safety potential have been a common theme for citizen comments lately.
One of the fist comments, a few months back, came from Kathleen Reibe. She was concerned about road hazards for school bus routes.  
“Three times this year my kids could not get to school,” she said.
This problem seemed to increase during the winter months with the ski traffic and winter conditions.
“We need to create a better area for the ski traffic. We really do struggle up there — we can’t move for close to two hours in the traffic,” Reibe said.
She concluded her comment by saying, “Our kids need to get to school. They should be able to get there.”
Many subsequent comments concerned one particular housing development. Miriam Aiazzi, who represented about 48 residents from adjacent neighborhoods, came to voice their concerns about the road plans for the development in conjunction with their residential roads.
She brought some paperwork from 1987, written by the then associate director of development services at Salt Lake County to provide context for her concern.
“At that point a development wanted to connect a road to Danish Road. We received a letter that states that they decided that instead of connecting, they would widen and improve Danish Road,” Aiazzi said.
Once again, bus routing issues were brought up.
“We do not have bus stops; the children are dropped off at LDS church,” Aiazzi said. “The road is so steep that the busses can’t make it up the hill during winter conditions on occasion.”
 She concluded by offering some solutions.
“Don’t connect the roads going into the new development. The current road is dirt — let the property owners develop that road for a connector road. If we do have to connect everything, we ask that the council be proactive and put in traffic calmers,” Aiazzi said.
Tara Deans, another resident, representing “a number of residents on our street,” stood up to speak about the same issue.
“Danish is actually a very busy street, cars drive very fast, so it is a concern,” Deans said.
She spoke briefly about the proposed plan for developing roads and the potential traffic.
“What we are proposing, instead of bringing traffic through the streets, keep through traffic out. The area was not built to be a major thoroughfare,” Deans said.
Sally Rasmussen also addressed the council. “I’m wondering about the safety issue if there’s an emergency — that’s going to cause a lot of grief. I want you to think about the safety feature,” she said.
Ricki Smith, a resident on Danish Oaks Drive, spoke up. She said that “none of the residents are saying that we don’t want new neighbors, we just want our kids to be safe. It’s just going to take one,” she said. “We are going to be so remorseful with all this foresight. We have it in front of us and we just need to pay attention.”
After hearing all the citizen comments about the housing development, Mayor Kelvyn Cullimore addressed the group as a whole.
“My understanding is that nobody is opposed to the development, but the concern is about negative impacts the development may have on the streets. The developers have to prove the streets are capable of handling the traffic. These issues can be addressed with proper planning. Cities don’t have the authority to direct homes, we only have the ability to try and impose conditions. If the developer wants to connect the road, they can,” Cullimore said. “However, we can look at what that means when they do. At minimum, we can look at significant traffic calming. It’s important for you to understand what’s in our ability to do and what’s not in our ability to do.”
Shortly after each of these comments, the Cottonwood Heights City Council reconvened during a work session meeting to discuss these issues. The council asked for either more information or action on each of the road concerns.