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The Push For Safer Roads Intensifies After Two Kids Were Hit While Crossing The Street In Salt Lake City

A photo of the newly painted crosswalk.
Emily Means
After the accident, Salt Lake City painted a crosswalk at the intersection where the kids were hit. The city also put an electronic message board in the road to temporarily alert drivers about kids walking to school.

A new crosswalk has been painted on Poplar Grove Blvd. on the west side of Salt Lake City after a car collided with two children as they were walking across the street. The accident happened in a residential area — near rows of houses and an elementary school.

According to a Gofundme account for their medical bills, the kids were on their way to school Monday around 8 a.m. A police report shows they were taken to the hospital after a Jeep hit them.

The posted speed limit on the road is 35 miles per hour. Police are still investigating how fast the driver was going when they hit the kids and whether the driver was impaired.

Johnnae Nardone, a board member for Sweet Streets — a Salt Lake-based nonprofit that advocates for designing public spaces that prioritize people over cars — said the accident was unsurprising and “completely unnecessary.”

“There's always going to be cars, but we could design safer streets,” Nardone said.

She said her group is pushing for safer streets through their “20 is Plenty” campaign, which calls for lowering the speed limit to 20 miles per hour throughout Salt Lake’s neighborhoods.

“We think this is a significant first step in changing the balance between pedestrians and cars in our city,” she said. “It changes behavior and it really could save some people's lives.”

Jon Larsen, Salt Lake City’s transportation director, said the biggest factor of whether a street is safe for non-motorists is speed.

“The faster people are driving, the less safe it is for everyone, but especially people who aren't in a big steel and glass enclosure,” Larsen said.

He said reducing the speed limit is something the city may consider.

“We’ll see,” Larsen said. “I don’t think there’s any debate on whether or not we should slow people down. It’s just a question of whether or not that’s the most effective way.”

In the meantime, Larsen said they’re working on other projects to make streets safer for non-motorists, like improving crosswalks throughout town.

In response to the accident in Poplar Grove, a Salt Lake City spokesperson said the city plans to work with the community “to determine any additional safety measures we can put in place to help prevent a tragedy like this from occurring in the future.”

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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