Traffic overloads Springdale as city seeks solutions – St George News

Springdale creates a transportation plan to help reduce the number of private vehicles on the road, Springdale, Utah | Photo courtesy of St. George News

ST. GEORGE- City officials say traffic is clogging Springdale’s roads, and the city is looking for ways to reduce it. The city is developing the Downtown Active Transportation and Traffic Plan. Springdale recently surveyed residents and tabulated the results. Springdale also conducted a transportation study by Fehr & Peers, a civil engineering firm.

Long lines of people wait for shuttles inside Zion National Park, Utah, June 3, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

“If we could reduce the number of private vehicles by getting more people on shuttles or bikes, that would be a win for residents,” said Springdale Mayor Barbara Bruno. “My biggest transportation challenge is getting through town on our only thoroughfare when there are so many visitors.”

She said the speed limit varies from 40 to 30 miles per hour when approaching Zion National Park, but traffic rarely moves at that rate.

“Most often the line of traffic moves at 15 to 20 mph and comes to a complete stop,” Bruno said.

The mayor said the situation was getting so bad that residents living near a shuttle stop often left their vehicles at home and took shuttles, adding that Springdale was working to improve mobility and safety for the walking, cycling, commuting and driving.

Bruno asks people visiting for the day to use one of the city parking lots to ease traffic. There is public parking on Lion Boulevard for all-day tours, but she said those spots fill up quickly. There is paid roadside parking on SR-9.

Springdale Seeks Congestion Relief Through Downtown Active Transportation and Traffic Plan with Input from Residents and an Engineering Company, Springdale, Utah, date unspecified | Photo by Stephanie DeGraw, St. George News

“Washington County has property outside of Rockville. They are ready and willing to develop parking there,” Bruno said. “Visitors could board a shuttle or ride a bike there and ride through Springdale without their vehicle.”

Tourists staying in the city’s hotels and transient accommodation units can also contribute to the solution. Bruno said they can park their vehicle at their accommodation and walk, bike or take a shuttle to get around town and Zion National Park.

“I think that’s how they’ll have their best experience here,” Bruno said.

The transportation plan will address the impacts of traffic and parking congestion resulting from increased visitation to Zion and growing development in Springdale, said Tom Dansie, Director of Community Development.

“As more and more people come to Springdale to visit the park, shop and eat, it brings more traffic congestion to the city,” Dansie said. “The city has encouraged more people to get around by bike, and now we’re seeing a huge increase in the number of bikes, mostly e-bikes, on the street.”

Although more and more people are moving without causing vehicular traffic and parking congestion, it still poses problems and impacts in Springdale.

“The transport plan will analyze all these issues and propose short, medium and long-term solutions to help improve traffic flow and transport efficiency,” Dansie said.

According to the city’s recent email to residents, the challenges relate to all modes of transportation. Springdale’s Traffic and Active Transportation Plan will develop strategies to help mitigate the negative impacts of increased traffic in the community, the email states.

The Springdale Traffic and Active Transportation Plan outlines the five major conflict zones as follows:

  1. Zion Canyon Lodge
  2. Winderland Way
  3. Canyon Springs Rd and Sage Lane
  4. Desert Pearl Restaurant
  5. Hampton Inn/Welcome Center

The solutions proposed by this plan that the city council will consider in the future include ten options, including improvements to pedestrian crossings that would increase the visibility of pedestrian crossings and encourage motorists to slow down. The recommendation is to install flashing lights to encourage motorists to yield to pedestrians and cyclists crossing. These flashing lights also reduce the threat of rear collision for motorists. They communicate with approaching motorists that a pedestrian is trying to cross. There are currently eight crosswalks along the SR-9 Study Corridor in Springdale.

Conflict dispatch is another proposed plan that alerts drivers to be aware of people on bikes and increases the visibility of conflict points between turning vehicles and people on bikes. The plan advises using green paint to highlight high-priority areas of conflict between people on bikes and revolving cars in driveways, shuttle stops and other points of conflict.

Next, a mobility hub/satellite parking area that offers visitors multiple ways to reach Springdale and other destinations. The plan recommends that the Rockville County-owned area be the hub. By diverting visitors before they enter Springdale, traffic and congestion in the city can be reduced, according to the study.

The plan indicates that another advantage of the parking area is that large freight vehicles unload goods. Then they transfer the items into smaller delivery vehicles, reducing the impact of freight vehicles in town.

For more information on the plan, contact the city offices at [email protected]

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