Traffic report looks to answer some questions


    A study of traffic patterns in the last five years will be released today as part of the Provo’s ongoing effort to increase the safety of city streets.

    The statistics, compiled by the Provo Police Department, will be used to identify “problem areas” and pinpoint major causes of traffic accidents.

    “We’re just analyzing when, where and why the accidents are happening,” Karen Mayne, public information officer for the Provo Police Department, said. Mayne will present the report at a meeting held Monday at 12:30 at the Clark Auditorium, and lead a discussion on ways to better control traffic and decrease accidents.

    In addition to compiling accident tallies from the past five years, the study identifies the 29 most problematic intersections from January to October 1998. The site of the most accidents, 900 W. Center St., saw 63 accidents during that ten-month span.

    The study also breaks the accidents down according to contributing circumstances, seriousness of injury, and weather conditions. Lynnae Sanford, the records supervisor who crunched the numbers for the study, said she thinks the majority of accidents in Provo are reported and the totals accurately reflect traffic trends.

    City administrators and members of the Community Outreach Council, a group formed under the initiative of the Provo branch of Intermountain Health Care, have recently identified traffic safety as a major topic of concern. Mayne volunteered to do the traffic study in response to simultaneous requests for more information on the subject.

    “I think that having this kind of information available and having people aware of what are the contributors to traffic accidents will help them see ways they can improve as drivers and become better defensive drivers,” Mayne said.

    Mayne said she thought the majority of Provo’s traffic accidents are the result of driver-related actions.

    “I think the drivers here are very educated and bright, but sometimes our courtesy could be improved. There are basic things we should do that are not happening, like signalling before changing lanes and being aware of the other cars around you, and small things like that make a difference,” she said.

    The possibility that the city needs to alter some streets or signs will also be considered once the study results are released, Mayne said. The growing population of the area is making organized traffic flow a city priority.

    “Very quickly we’re going to have to get used to a city-type driving experience,” Mayne said. “As a population, we need to make adjustments to the changing roads, and we haven’t gotten there yet.”

    The city’s most visible efforts to increase traffic safety have been the 10 orange barrels installed at busy crosswalks throughout town. The barrels, part of the “Stop! It’s the Law” campaign for Pedestrian Safety Month, will be rotated between several high-density pedestrian crossings throughout the month.

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