Extra business, traffic worry 800 North residents

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    By KRISTEN SONNE

    As rush hour approaches each day, Orem residents living near 800 North cringe as they accelerate to keep up with speeding traffic.

    One of the main reasons residents of Orem living near Cascade Fairways golf course are in opposition to a proposed business park is due to the additional traffic the park would create.

    “I am not going to put anymore traffic on 800 North until I get a massive traffic study — I want to know what is being planned,” Orem City Council member Judy Bell said. “I am not doing anything on 800 North until I get those answers.”

    Randy Deschamps, developer and planner in charge of the project for EsNet, said he is working on a larger and more intense traffic study before he goes before the city council.

    After the traffic study is complete, Deschamps will talk with residents affected by the proposed business park to clear misinformation and dispel rumors.

    Peter Wilson, an Orem resident, said everything the citizens have been discussing is information they received during a meeting with Deschamps.

    “He was very brief about the proposal, and downplayed many of the important issues,” Wilson said. “It is much larger than the impression he tried to make. He talked like they would be very flexible, but I think they have much more definite plans. I don’t think anyone from that meeting fabricated anything.”

    Wilson said the Utah Department of Transportation just now received word of the proposed business park at 1350 E. 800 North, and they are very concerned about the increase of traffic.

    “There are things UDOT would be required to do if they built the business park,” Wilson said.

    Deschamps said it would be EsNet’s responsibility to build acceleration and deceleration lanes surrounding the business park, however, they would not widen the road.

    “Some of the widening will be taken care of with development and the city would require them to fund it,” said Alan Meacham, Region 3 local director for UDOT.

    Meacham said there is no state funding for the widening of 800 North.

    “In UDOT’s long-range plan, 800 North is planned to be a six-lane thoroughfare, a big vast street, with a speed increase to 55,” Bell said. “I don’t think this will happen in my lifetime though, unless Orem City facilitates this by increasing traffic.”

    Five years ago the council asked UDOT to plan to widen 800 North, but Bell said it is a state street and this cannot be done without UDOT.

    “I will petition with the neighborhoods for this,” Bell said.

    However, residents do not want the road to be widened because they do not think the problem will be solved in that way.

    “A widening of the road would not stop the speed and there would be two more lanes to get across,” Williams said. “EsNet wants to bring all the traffic in front of my house. You know people, they will be speeding because it is not their neighborhood, even when the children are getting on their buses.”

    Williams said she has approached the council about trying to get more patrol cars at this location, but she said nothing has happened.

    “We went to Orem city after Travis Robinson, a young neighborhood boy, was killed by a car coming over the curb, and Orem City knocked down some bushes for us,” Williams said. “It hasn’t helped much because of the speeding cars. When you turn out and are slower, they get behind you, honk, and flip you off.”

    The neighbors have asked the police department for an empty patrol car to be placed on 800 North by their subdivision, but Williams said they would not do it.

    Lt. Mike Larsen, of the Orem Police Department, said empty patrol cars have been left before at Palisades drive and the residents need to call the patrol division of the department to request this again.

    “People slow down when they see the police car; we do it throughout the city,” Larsen said. “It is effective to a certain effect. It is effective while the car is there, for that particular block where the car is.”

    Traffic enforcement does occur on 800 North right after the canyon; however, Larsen said they are not going to be there 24 hours a day.

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