Saratoga Springs parents worried about kids walking to new middle school

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – Parents are voicing concerns over potential walking routes to a brand new middle school because they are worried their children won't have a safe journey to school.

It's because some parents expect that their children will have to cross Redwood Road.

Technically, the road is a state highway, and it's the only real north/south connector for Saratoga Springs on the west side of Utah Lake.

Patty Brown lives in a neighborhood off of Redwood Road and said she doesn't like to walk along it.

However, her son might have to walk along Redwood Road twice a day this coming fall as he's set to attend the new Lake Mountain Middle School.

Her son will need to cross Redwood Road to get from his neighborhood to school and for Brown – that's a problem.

"This is now a considered a highway," Brown said. "And you want kids to cross a highway? Little kids brand new to seventh grade? Okay, let's see how that works."

Even more concerning for her – some recent changes she noticed on that specific stretch of Redwood Road.

"I just started this whole thing when I saw the speed limit go up to 55 [mph], and I went oh, no no no no no," Brown said.

She contacted UDOT and the Alpine School District to raise her concerns.

Geoff Dupaix with UDOT said they increased the speed limit from 50 to 55 mph, as an adjustment to meet how fast most drivers were traveling on the roadway.

He said there's a lot of growth in that area, and traffic patterns are changing.

To help with the walk to school, he explained that UDOT is installing a traffic light at a cross street in front of the middle school so kids can cross the street.

"The traffic signals seemed to be the most viable option and one that we could implement quickly," Dupaix said.

Crews will also install stoplights at two other locations south of the school on Redwood Road and Dupaix said that will adjust how traffic moves in the area.

"We feel that this will help improve safety for anybody using the roadway," he said.

Brown is still worried about her son and dozens of other kids crossing Redwood Road every morning and afternoon.

"I just want the kids to be safe," Brown said.

She explained that she would like UDOT to lower the speed limit in front of the school – at least around the start and end of school.

Another parent began a petition to build a pedestrian sky bridge, which Brown is on board with.

Dupaix said they're going to finish the improvements they're doing first, and then they could look at other improvements at a later date.

He said a pedestrian overpass takes more time and would be a complex project involving funding, purchasing property, and engineering a design.

Lake Mountain Middle School opens this fall – sooner than they could build a bridge.

The Alpine School District said they are conducting an annual school transportation study to figure out bus and walking routes.

A representative said they have not decided on bus or walking routes to school. Typically, the district does not bus middle school students who live within two miles of their school, but does establish safe walking routes for students.

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