Pinebrook residents request traffic-calming measures after deaths of moose
September 5, 2018
Pinebrook residents have been mourning the deaths of a moose and calf that were likely hit by a car late last month along the neighborhood's entry corridor, an incident that has since sparked a discussion about traffic-calming measures that can be implemented to reduce speeding.
Nearly 30 residents joined Summit County staff last week to discuss what improvements could be made along Pinebrook Road to slow down traffic in the 25 mph zone, particularly between Pinebrook Boulevard and Buckboard Drive. Several residents upset with the deaths of the moose organized the meeting.
Sharon Cantwell said she requested additional signage along the road that displays the speed and warns of wildlife crossings from Summit County's Public Works Department after the animals died. She said several animals have been hit in the area, adding that it appears to be a natural crossing path.
Safety measures residents suggested include flashing speed displays, signage and physical improvements to the road, such as speed humps.
Kimberly Rousch is one of the organizers of the effort, creating a committee that will pursue traffic-calming programs with the neighborhood's homeowners association. While she doesn't live on Pinebrook Road, she said she felt compelled to do something because "those moose were all of ours." "The fact that it affected one of my moose was very upsetting," she said. "But, it was just amazing the caring that came out of that and I had to do something. I don't know if it will all be in vain, but to see how much people care is amazing, especially if we can get the traffic calmed down."
Rousch said the speeding along Pinebrook Road has gotten out of hand. She said vehicles tend to increase their speed coming down the hill and that some drivers will even pass others when they are going the speed limit. The matter has been discussed extensively on the social network Nextdoor.
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"When everyone was going back and forth about what happened, a lot of people on the Nextdoor blog said it is hard because it's all downhill," she said. "But, everyone was talking about driving habits so this is happening to other people and they are getting upset, too."
Residents explored whether or not more speed limit or wildlife crossing signs would actually deter speeding. A deputy with the Summit County Sheriff's Office encouraged those at the meeting to talk with their neighbors and initiate a door-to-door campaign where residents are asked to sign a petition where signatories pledge not to speed.
Summit County Public Works Director Derrick Radke said traffic calming is a common theme among the neighborhoods throughout the Snyderville Basin. He said the county gets complaints from every neighborhood because of people driving faster than they should.
A traffic-calming program is implemented through the county engineer's office. Radke outlined the process a neighborhood must go through for additional measures to be put in place. He said a traffic-calming committee should be formed and the neighborhood's homeowners association must make a request to conduct a speed study.
"If it comes out that it's within the criteria that warrants a traffic-calming program, we will then sit down together to discuss moving forward," he said. "We do that because an individual resident may not be supported by the neighborhood. Traffic calming requires a neighborhood buy-in."
The first step is to attempt the door-to-door campaign.
Radke said there is nothing that will force anyone to drive slower. He said traffic-calming measures only serve as reminder tools to let people know they are driving faster than they should be.
"That's why we go to the homeowners association to gain the neighborhood's support," he said. "We could get a whole range of things in place, but it's a process. We are happy to work them. It's just not going to be an overnight fix."
Cantwell said it was inspiring to see the neighborhood come together and agree to take action to make the area safer.
"There need to be more speed signs or something," she said. "But, we would like to work together to see if maybe we can fund more signs. We've got our committee members together and they are ready to do that."