Main Street traffic

Cars pass through the intersection of Main Street and 100 North in Logan.

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News that Logan is in line for $52 million in state funding to relieve traffic congestion on Main Street generated a lot of web traffic last week, with many Cache Valley residents offering their own solutions to the problem.

An article posted online by The Herald Journal received close to 8,000 page views and drew more than 150 comments to the newspaper’s Facebook page. The comments included input from former Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Vic Saunders, who spent years in meetings aimed at Main Street traffic solutions, such as eliminating streetside parking or creating more north-south thoroughfares to ease the flow on Main.

“All this has been studied at least three times during the time I was at UDOT,” Saunders said. “The problem is, there will be ‘fallout’ politically, and local leaders lack the political will to just select an alternative and go with it. That’s what needs to happen — pick one and go forward. Don’t study it again and waste that money.”

Saunders’ frustration about inaction was shared by other Facebook commenters, including Brent Stephenson, who wrote, “Here we go again. How many millions have been spent on plan after plan after plan but we still have the cluster named Main Street.”

Brent Parker had this to say: “So what will happen is they will spend 10 mill on the study then repave the entire thing again for the remaining 42 mill, taking 1-2 years and causing more congestion.”

More study does indeed appear to be in the offing since the money dedicated to Main Street traffic is not tied to any specific projects, and Logan Mayor Holly Daines has said any moves would require environmental analysis and public input.

Facebook comments provided a hint of what that public input might look like.

In response to suggestions that First East and First West be converted to high-volume one-way streets, Marc Fuentes expressed concern this alternative would just make more Logan neighborhoods dangerous to pedestrians.

“Sadly, the only solution I can think of is to eliminate some or all of the parking on Main Street for 3 lanes of traffic going each direction,” Fuentes said.

Other commenters put in a pitch for more turn arrows on Main Street, but this suggestion was criticized as something that would only clog traffic more.

“If you think traffic is slow now, wait until everyone has to wait for the protected left turns. Add 45-90 seconds wait at each intersection,” Saunders said. “What is much better is for people to use other routes north and south, like 10th West, or 6th West or 100 East. But we are all creatures of habits, which are hard to break.”

Some Facebook commenters said the solution doesn’t lie in moving cars more efficiently but employing other forms of transportation.

“Here’s my thoughts,” wrote Parker in an addition to his previous comment. “Get a contract with UP to lease the track that is already from Smithfield to Hyrum. Improve it and upgrade it to 2 lanes where they can. Buy 5 electric trains and run them back and forth all day/night. Then use the buses we already own to run people east and west from the train depots. Have stops at all major intersections. Then at most people only have to walk a short distance to get to work or stores.”

Two commenters proposed a bypass highway around Logan in addition to 10th West, possibly going as far north as Preston. Another commenter suggested making 4th North a through street from Main Street to 10th West, thereby eliminating the need for cars heading east-west to jog onto Main.

Another line of discussion on the Facebook thread revolved around growth as it relates to Main Street crowding.

“Yes! Main St. traffic is horrible, schools are over populated but let’s keep throwing up townhouses and apartments all over the valley. Makes a lot of sense right?” Stacie Dickamore Moser wrote.

“Stop letting all these new businesses in. We don’t want to be like SLC,” Jalene Hendrick added.

For Dario Chingon, the problem is not so much growth as it is growth patterns.

“The problem is every new restaurant or store is forced on Main St. That’s why there’s so much congestion on Main,” he said. “Be smart and branch out. There’s so much room on 1000 West to place stores and restaurants. Use 1000 North west of 600 West. If you travel outside of Cache Valley, you see many stores and restaurants are branched out. Putting everything on Main just makes things worse.”

The $52 million commitment from UDOT came as a result of local efforts to move Logan Main Street higher up the state road project priority list, but the actual funding may not come for several years, and the amount could change.

Time is of the essence, according to Kendall Brown, who warned, “even if we can find a solution now, by the time it’s implemented the city will be twice its size from today.”

Please be aware that Cache Valley Publishing does not endorse, and is not responsible for alleged employment offers in the comments.

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