Feedback from June 6 and Beyond | Letters | Salt Lake City Weekly

Feedback from June 6 and Beyond 

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Traffic Trouble
After moving to Salt Lake City from Washington in 1974 to coach basketball at Westminster College, I was in heaven driving here compared to D.C. Since then, the Salt Lake Valley has doubled in population and it now reminds me of the D.C. area, where people commuted in from Baltimore, Maryland, northern Virginia and Richmond, Virginia.

Driving there is a nightmare, and in Utah we have a similar situation with the increase in population and commuting from Ogden and Spanish Fork—and elsewhere—to Salt Lake for work.

Driving is difficult due to this increase and UDOT is still operating like they're in 1974. I have driven in almost every major city in the U.S.A. and I have never experienced the frustration of the left-hand turn system in Salt Lake.

A few examples: 9th South and Van Winkle Expressway; 45th South and Van Winkle Expressway; State Street and 45th South. If you want to turn left, the signal lasts for four or five cars, maybe. Thus, people are conditioned to run the red light and accidents occur. Look in the street at the intersections—there is always debris strewn about due to accidents.

With the exit off the interstate at 45th South, traffic is very congested. Living in Murray and heading north or south on State, turning left on 45th is a suicide mission. The signal is set so maybe three or four cars can turn before it goes to yellow.

Traffic going south or north is three lanes and people are driving 45 to 55 miles per hour and if there are cars turning left—going to the freeway exit heading west—you cannot see very well while you're contending with three lanes of traffic to make the left turn.

It's my contention that drivers are conditioned to run red lights because most of the green left-hand turns are way too short. UDOT needs to reevaluate and save lives. I drove in Florida this past winter, with as much or more traffic than Salt Lake City, and 8 to 10 cars can turn left. Traffic flows better and there is not the pressure to run a red light, knowing you are going to get through the intersection.

When is UDOT going to use some common sense and change with the driving problems of an increasing population?

Hands-On Learning
Fox 13 News recently celebrated an auto shop restoring old cars inside Bingham High School, while KSL News wrote about a group of students who built a home. These stories are terrific. But why aren't programs like this the norm?

For the last half century, schools emphasized college as the next step after high school. Many schools even went so far as to eliminate programs like auto shop and woodworking. Schools pushed college, calling it the "golden ticket" to a better future. Unsurprisingly, today's students feel disillusioned by the education process.

An April Gallup survey suggests that fewer than half of Gen Z middle school and high school students feel motivated to go to school. I would contend that more students nowadays want on-the-job training.

As a school principal, I saw this trend firsthand. There were so many hard-working and talented students who could do things with their hands. They simply weren't interested in sitting for six or seven hours a day in a classroom. They needed to be more active.

The conventional school system isn't built for students like these. For these students, there are lucrative options outside of college.

Let's stop pushing college on students. Not everyone needs it and not everyone wants it.
Libertas Institute

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