Provo residents contest new parkway plans

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by Justin Smith and Jared Gay

Citizens in west Provo are preparing to contend a new parkway the city of Provo plans to construct that will run through their current properties.

The city said the new Lakeview Parkway will address current and projected transportation and community needs between the Provo airport and I-15 (provowestsideconnector.com/input/). Land owners in the area where the parkway will be built, however, are questioning the necessity and value of this road.

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The Provo crossway will require certain residents and business owners to uproot, such as Sunshine Greenhouses.

“Our biggest issue with it is that we don’t feel there’s a need for the road,” said Deanna McCoard, a resident and owner of a business in west Provo. “You’ve got three roads that go north and south, and they want a new huge road. It will be four roads within a few miles, and it doesn’t make sense to anyone down on the west end.”

Geneva Road, I-15 and 3110 west are three main roads that run north and south in west Provo and are within a two mile radius.

The parkway is designed to minimize traffic in the residential areas of western Provo by redirecting high-speed travelers to the parkway. In addition to adding safety and security to the modern infrastructure, the parkway will include a pedestrian bicycle trail.

David Graves, deputy public works director and Provo city engineer, said the project has been on Provo’s master-street plan since 2007 and the area where the parkway will be built is the ideal location for maximizing value to the area and minimizing impact on the local residents.

“We have looked at several different locations that would minimize impact and best serve the city’s needs,” Graves said. “The alignment selected is … by far the least intrusive. Most of it is on vacant property. We even considered environmental impact.”

Graves said although the rural land will be impacted by the development, impact is necessary in a project like this and the city is working to make it minimal.

“What we really need are the east west connections going to the freeway,” McCoard said. “Nobody wants the road, and if I really felt like the airport was going to grow, I might have a different opinion. There’s not much traffic. It’s a really peaceful place to live.”

The current plan for the road will have to cut through land owned by citizens in west Provo.

“We have three horses and some other animals,” said John Christoffersen, a land owner in west Provo. “About 70 percent of our feed for our horses is created on that land. The road that goes through is going to cut through that acreage. That will make it difficult to take care of our horses, which are part of the family.”

Christoffersen said another main road will negatively affect the feel of Provo.

“Most of us enjoy Provo because it’s green, it has trees and there are places to walk and enjoy,” Christoffersen said. “By packing it in tight, you destroy the real integrity and feel of Provo.”

Graves said the city has already had four to five public meetings which talked about the city roadways and the specific project details. Residents can find out when future meetings will be held by visiting the project website at provowestsideconnector.com.

Christoffersen said the project is wasteful, but that Provo residents can slow its progress and potentially stop the project if they become involved.

“One of the best things would be to go ahead and contact their city council,” Christoffersen said. “If they’re getting contacted person after person, they’re going to want to listen.”

Christoffersen said building an unnecessary road will be unfortunate for a lot of west Provo residents.

“This was one of the things I wanted for my kids and grandkids,” Christoffersen said. “We rebuilt the barn out here, and we made it into an area where our family and friends can come out and enjoy. But it looks like that’s going to end if the city comes out and builds a road that’s not needed.”

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