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Today's word on journalism

Friday, September 1, 2006

"[F]ew things are as much a part of our lives as the news. With the advent of sophisticated mass communication, the news has become a sort
of instant historical record of the pace, progress, problems, and the hopes of society. On the other hand--and here's the puzzle -- the news provides, at best, a superficial and distorted image of society. . . . The puzzle, simply put, is this: How can anything so superficial be so central to our lives?"

--W. Lance Bennett, political science professor, 1988

Frontage road planned by Nibley doesn't come without dispute

By Ranae Bangerter

May 1, 2006 | NIBLEY -- City officials have planned since 1982 to built a frontage road along the U.S. Highway 89-91 corridor, but county officials don't want the city to develop commercially along that corridor at all.

"We've anticipated for 24 years at least, and (we) were waiting for market to reach up," City Manager Larry Anhder said. The city plans to build a frontage road that would be approximately 60 feet to the east, parallel to the corridor. It would be accessed along 3200 South, by Ted's Gas Station, where a stoplight would be located in the future. But plans for a light, or the road being constructed, will only come as fast as commercial business does.

"The road is being built by developers as the development comes," said Anhder. For the past year-and-a-half the businesses have been trying to come in and be approved, he said.

Three developments along the corridor at 2600 South, 2700 South and 2900 South are being planned, and two have been approved. One is a small regional retail store, another is a light manufacturing business and the last is an agricultural products store.

Cache County Executive Lynn Lemon said he would rather distribute the sales tax by population rather than point of sale, and Cache Metropolitan Planning Director Jeff Gilbert thinks the city should not go commercial by the corridor.

"Wherever you have a road that has a lot of traffic it will be an attraction for commercial," said Gilbert. He would rather have the city develop commercially along the other highway to the east of the city.

"From my perspective, I would rather see Nibley not develop commercially on 89-91. I'd rather them center their commercial district on Highway 165," said Gilbert. "First of all, 165 doesn't have the need to function as a thoroughfare. And the other reason is, I think commercial [business] would be more viable over there," he said. Those making inter-valley trips would be much more likely to stop,"than those bee-lining out of the valley to go to Salt Lake," Gilbert added.

Anhder disagrees, and said the development is"not any impedance to traffic flow." The city plans on having one main access point with a traffic light at 3200 South and a possibility of one other located at either 2300 South or 2600 South.

"[Nibley has] minimized the number of access points, which is good," Gilbert said."Most of the access that comes as it occurs, comes off the frontage road," he added.

For the traffic lights to be allowed, they need to meet a standard. "Neither of those lights will go in until they meet a warrant number," he added. A warrant number is when enough vehicles travel through the intersection that it qualifies for a light.

The city has been planning ahead to prevent more access points on the corridor. Anhder thinks the city has an advantage over other cities because they have planned ahead.

"[It is an] overwhelming advantage, we're smart, we've planned something," Anhder said."We've eliminated the 'every access that might happen per somebody's request' on that corridor," he added.

Gilbert agreed that it was a good idea for the city prepare in advance. "From my perception, from the regional [view, it is] far better to plan ahead of how the road will work, as opposed to [catering] to every box development that comes in," said Gilbert.

Other cities in the valley have built many access points along the corridor, which has decreased traffic flow from north to south, but Cache County Executive Lynn Lemon said that the county is trying to fix that.

Lemon said about the traffic flow in Logan,"we've done light synchronizations." A lot more north and south traffic flow has come, but they have had less from the east to west, he said. The county is trying to build another road on 200 East and another access road from Smithfield to Logan on 1200 East, he added.

The county has worked with cities surrounding the corridor and the Utah Department of Transportation to come up with an agreement, the Cache South Corridor Access Management Agreement.

Gilbert said the intent was to get agreement of the cities on transportation to determine when development happens and where development happens. The cities of Hyrum, Wellsville, Nibley, Logan and Cache County came to a legal agreement, said Gilbert. The agreement is used to increase traffic flow by determining where cities can place signals and how far apart they must be placed. More information about the agreement can be found at the Cache Metropolitan Planning Organization's web site at www.cachempo.org.

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