Salt Lake City wants input on 2100 South lane reduction, possible bike lane addition

Previous so-called "road diets" along 1300 South in 2013 and 1300 East in 2010 met with objections from nearby residents, and the latest lane reduction has supporters and opponents.

About 60 people showed at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Sugar House Community Council, estimated council Chairman Landon Clark.

"It was contentious, for sure," he said.

Those who turn right going eastbound were generally against the changes, Clark said, because they believe the lane reduction will cause traffic to back up during rush hour, and motorists will then choose to cut through their "quaint, quiet streets."

Those who turn left going eastbound, Clark said, generally favored the reduction because of safety concerns.

Salt Lake City Council members Charlie Luke and Lisa Adams said most of the feedback they’ve received so far has opposed a new configuration.

Adams said some residents at Wednesday night’s community council meeting seemed to feel that the city had already made up its mind, and that "it’s important that the administration assures constituents that they will be heard."

From 2014 to 2016, there were 73 total crashes between 1700 East and 2300 East.

The city figures 22 of those would have been avoided with a three-lane section, a 30 percent decrease.

Of those crashes, 15 involved one vehicle rear-ending another that was making a left turn. Four were collisions between a vehicle making a left turn and an oncoming vehicle in an outside lane that had been obscured by another stopped vehicle.

The 2013 lane reduction on 1300 South from State to 700 East resulted in a 27 percent decrease in crashes, according to city data.

The stretch divides City Council District 6 to the north and District 7 to the south.

Luke, who represents District 6, said he opposes reducing lanes on just a six-block portion of one of the city’s major east-west arteries because it eliminates the continuity of traffic and would create a bottleneck effect at both ends.

Parleys Way, which connects to 2100 South at 2300 East, has been recommended for four traffic lanes, Luke said, and 2100 South has five lanes west of 1700 East.

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Eastbound drivers would merge from three lanes into one at 1700 East, and then back to two lanes when they reached Parleys.

"Merging in and out of a bottleneck will create more opportunities for driver error," Luke said.

The bleedoff of traffic into neighborhood streets is also a "very real possibility," he said, demonstrated by the lane reduction on 1300 East.

Adams, who represents District 7, said she can see merit to the proposal for three lanes but not the addition of bike lanes.

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