Traffic study: Most soccer parents aren’t speeding in Lehi

Soccer practices at Olympic Park are causing problems in a Lehi neighborhood. (Photo courtesy Google Maps)

Soccer practices at Olympic Park are causing problems in a Lehi neighborhood. (Photo courtesy Google Maps)

More traffic study results are in, and the majority of people driving through a northwest Lehi neighborhood on their way to soccer games aren’t speeding.

“We went through them; the speeds are very reasonable,” said Lehi Streets Superintendent Wade Allred, of the traffic study.

Residents in the Parkside Estates subdivision, which borders Olympic Park, have been upset over traffic going to the park for soccer games. Competitive soccer teams reserve and rent the fields, bringing hundreds of kids and parents to the neighborhood every week during fall and spring, clogging the two residential streets that lead to the park, 1540 North and 1775 North. The teams practice and play games at the park, which is 15 acres and has a pavilion, playground, volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits and, right now, one soccer field and a smaller practice field. Come spring, a second soccer field will be ready for use.

There are only two roads people can take to get to the park, 1540 North and 1775 North, and both are residential streets lined with trees. Residents say cars going to the soccer field speed through the neighborhood — one child was hit by a car that was headed to the soccer field — and park up and down the street.

The city did a traffic study before the soccer season started, counting cars and measuring speeds, and another one after it was in season. Allred says the 85th percentile speed on 1775 North was about 26 mph, and the 85th percentile speeds for 1540 North were about 23 mph. The city tracks the 85th percentile, which is also the federal standard, because it tosses out the fastest and slowest drivers. And the only day traffic counts jumped was Tuesday afternoon when soccer games weren’t happening, though it might have been a practice day.

Maybe people are slowing down now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem in the neighborhood, said resident Jeri Blackwell. “We still have people going fast through that neighborhood.”

One of her neighbors won’t let her children play outside between 3 and 6 p.m., Blackwell said, because the street isn’t safe with all the traffic and the people who aren’t in the 85th percentile and are speeding. She wanted to know if they can ask for patrol officers.

Lehi Mayor Bert Wilson assured her the city isn’t done. “We’ll still continue to work with you; we’re not giving up on the area.” He said there have been police patrols on those streets but the city can’t commit to regularly scheduled patrol times because the rest of the city needs police too.

Allred said the city sent a letter to the soccer teams and the organization has been proactive about the traffic problems. The city also is encouraging residents to trim trees to improve line of site on the street, making it safer — it’s offering to dispose of cuttings. In addition, it’s planning to push Parkside Drive through to 1500 North so there would be three roads to share traffic going to Olympic Park.

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