One way to get to know how a candidate thinks is to get their opinion on current issues. Due to the issue of traffic around the Black Ridge Reservoir one idea brought up was to introduce a card to use this area. This card would be free to Herriman and Riverton residents but anyone else would have to pay to use the reservoir.
I asked candidates what their thoughts are on this in an effort to get a little insight as to who they are and how they think. I will edit this post and add responses as I get them. So look back for updates from other candidates. I hope to hear from more candidates, this issue is in Mike Day’s district and I’m not sure how much he likes me so I don’t expect a response from him so I’ll post a link to what he wrote although it’s not directly what I asked the others.
My thoughts on this matter are simply no. Making a card to go visit a lake is just a stupid idea. I probably would never take the time to go get a card if it was required and I’d probably just not go to the lake, go elsewhere to recreate instead. Also when I did want to go and my guests would have to pay that would effect where I would go. Instead of Black Ridge maybe we go to the water park in Alpine. Spending money on food for our group there instead. It would cause problems, it makes others feel like we see ourselves as an elite group with only limited access. There are 1000′s of different solutions to help assist the traffic problem, a card to get into the reservoir isn’t one of the better brighter ideas. Here we are in Herriman promoting “come play in Herriman” and we are advertising all our parks and recreation things we have to do here as a great place to not just play but live then we are considering turning around and making it an elite club? Not to mention we are trying to support local businesses then saying we are only going to allow residents in to our park? If our goal is to develop as a city and get some economic development going so that we aren’t relying on building permits for taxes then we should continue to do things to attract people to our city not tick them off.
I also question how districting has effected this. Mike Day was the main voice pushing for the $5,000 survey to be done on this to see if we should use cards, this is in his district, it’s an election year. While I know this attraction is having an impact on residents in his community is looking at this issue from a district perspective effecting his judgement, would he act differently if he was at at large candidate? Right now he represents such a small area that he has to say thins is effecting his district, in an at large setting we would see that yes we want to do all we can to assist those living by the reservoir however not at the cost of economic development to the city as a whole. They mayor has stated that he is already seeing councilmembers acting as if they have “mini kingdoms”. Looking out for the best interest of specific areas not the city as a whole.
John Knotwell District #1
Thank you for your comment. From what I understand, the traffic coming out of the reservoir is an issue. I also understand that it has been an issue since the reservoir opened. From what I have read and heard at City Council meetings, the traffic problem in the area has been going on for some time. I do not understand why it took the most recent accident to be the catalyst to change. If the problem has existed for so long, why hasn’t it been addressed at all until now?
I do not support the card proposal. It will require machines to be maintained and it will also require staff to support. Since Riverton and Herriman are partners in the Black Ridge Reservoir (BRR), will Herriman have to foot the bill for the machines, the cards, the maintenance and the labor? Is Riverton willing to pony up some money to facilitate it? The strange irony in all this is that the issue is about speeding. So, how will a card system prevent speeding?
I think the residents near the reservoir are upset – and they should be. Ensuring public safety and the protection of private property are fundamentals in the proper role of government. I am a believer in doing small things first. Take simple actions first and measure the results. The city has put forth many options that don’t involve an expensive system. The expensive options should always be the options of last resort. One way ingress and egress, more signs, added police watch, pace car programs and maybe speed bumps. I know that the city staff does not favor speed bumps, but I think all options need to be on the table.
Troy Hooten, District #4:
Thanks Allen! I would love to hear your feedback on this opinion…..
Friends of Herriman,
Blackridge reservoir and Herriman Beach are grand examples of the cool and distinctive facilities that make Herriman a great place to live and visit. The primary purpose of Blackridge is to supply much needed secondary water to the residents of Herriman and Riverton. A secondary benefit is a great recreation area that has drawn interest from residents of not only Herriman and Riverton but many other cities in Salt Lake County.
The Herriman residents most impacted by the popularity of the reservoir and beach are those who live on Ashland Ridge, Esher, Emmeline, Briar Park and Ambermont Drive. The issues of speeding and overall traffic congestion are real and public safety should be our primary concern. A number of potential solutions have surfaced, they include; lower speed limits (15mph), one way streets, no parking at Herriman Beach, increased signage to encourage drivers to use Ambermont as they exit the park, more aggressive striping on collector streets, shutting down the beach altogether, charging a fee for non-residents to use the beach, increased presence of city personnel, closing the park earlier in the evening, and increased law enforcement activity.
Even the most passionate and concerned resident will tell you charging admission to the beach, or any other measure aimed at limiting use, is only a short-term solution. As the park continues to gain in popularity and more Herriman and Riverton residents discover Blackridge, the beach will reach and remain at capacity regardless of a fee charged for non-residents to enter. Requiring a fee for non-residents and incurring the cost of collection and enforcement is a break-even proposition, at best, according to city estimates. Additionally, charging a fee increases the legal liability to Herriman City and may necessitate the additional expense of hiring lifeguards at the beach.
I support increased signage at Blackridge reservoir aimed at educating drivers about the proper flow of traffic and splitting the load between Ashland Ridge and Ambermont Drive. I also support the increased presence of city personnel at the reservoir. City personnel can ensure that all participants are enjoying themselves, obeying park rules, and may ultimately operate an on-site concession stand. I also support plans to narrow the roads into Blackridge with increased striping. The perception of a smaller road will encourage drivers to slow down. If these steps prove to be insufficient, then I support additional measures such as 15 mph speed zones and limited one-way access.
I do not support efforts to shut down or limit access to Blackridge. Herriman is fortunate to have first-class facilities that attract visitors and enhance the image of our city. These visitors contribute to the local economy and may even decide to buy a home and live in Herriman. These are difficult economic times and we need to attract new businesses and patrons to our community. Whether it’s Butterfield Park, the rodeo arena, splash pads, or the fishing pond, Herriman should remain a friendly host to residents of other communities.
The issues that face our city are HERRIMAN issues not DISTRICT issues. What happens, or doesn’t happen, in each district matters to all of Herriman! With limited resources and important issues facing this growing community, this is NOT the time for districts. Herriman residents have lost their voice and have less ability to hold the city council accountable because of districting. Herriman residents now vote for only two of five council seats. If you’re concerned about the direction of the city council, you can no longer vote to change a majority of the council! When the city council considered districting they knew public sentiment was working against them; they DID NOT care. When politicians place more emphasis on re-election efforts than representing the will of the residents, it’s time for a change. There is already a stark difference in the feel and effectiveness of the city council since implementation of voting districts. Unfortunately, city budgets passed only a few weeks ago are already being busted and rainy day funds being consumed to address district specific issues in election years. Time to be united and reject election year antics!
Candidate – Herriman City Council, District 4
Jessica Morton District #4
I am not for the pass cards. I feel it would not be beneficial for Herriman, especially if it is going to be free for Herriman and Riverton residents. There is still construction to be done we need to put the money into finishing it. How are we going to distribute them, is everyone in Riverton and Herriman going to get them, are we going to have to pick them up at City Hall, what if someone wants to go up on Saturday or Sunday? There are just too many things to think about. It would also make sense that if people had to pay we would be losing money, once we start making other cities pay to come into our city and use our parks and reservoir, they will decide not to come than we are losing out on them spending money in our stores and bringing in more income. I went to the brainstorming meeting at the Juniper Point Clubhouse on Aug. 4th, Mike Day mentioned the pass card idea and stated that, “It would be a great way to keep track of who is coming and going into the reservoir that way if there was a hit and run, we would know who was around at that time.” Then I went to a special City Council work meeting that Saturday August 6th, when Mayors Mills stated, “He didn’t want the government knowing where he was at,” and then Mike Day said that, “Nobody would know that you were at the reservoir.” Right there he contradicted himself within a few days. John the city attorney mentioned that once we start making people pay to come to the reservoir, anything that happens to them the city would be responsible, that right there was final decision for me. I hope that this clarifies my position.
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Coralee Moser District #2
Thank you for your inquiry on my position on the challenges surrounding the Black Ridge Reservoir and, specifically, the use of a card access system for use of the recreation facility.
I spent nearly eight hours over three days surveying reservoir patrons in an effort to provide city staff data that could help us resolve residents’ traffic and safety concerns. The first day I volunteered, I recorded 145 cars in 150 minutes with approximately 40% of the patrons coming from other area. (The overall resident/non-resident average was reported in City Council meeting to be around 50% Herriman/Riverton residents and 50% non-residents.) While I was intrigued by the variety of cities, counties and even states from which patrons traveled to recreate in Herriman, it was clear the popularity of the reservoir was even more than the city had anticipated and is having a negative impact on the neighborhood. I believe something must be done to help alleviate the concerns of those neighbors; speed, sheer volume of traffic and nuisance issues must all be mitigated. However, I am reluctant to immediately embrace a card or fee system.
While a fee system could provide revenue back to the city from non-residents, the likely unintended consequences to residents concern me. Specifically, a fee system would undoubtedly cause some patrons to park outside the facility in front of resident’s houses. If those curbs were to be designated “no parking” or “resident only” zones, that would create an additional burden on those residents to stay off the road or obtain parking permits. Police enforcement costs for those areas would likely increase and could create additional economic impact on the city. Fees also must be studied – and of course studies cost money – and charging a fee may have the effect of increasing our legal liability for accidents at the reservoir. City officials report although a fee system may initially discourage out-of-area visitors, Herriman resident patronage would increase and the traffic impact would continue. A fee system would have initial costs to implement and ongoing costs to maintain; fees may or may not offset those costs. Although creative solutions may resolve these problems, I believe other solutions should be explored first.
I support the initial steps approved at the council meeting on August 11, 2011. Those steps include reducing the evening hours at the reservoir, disallowing animals at the reservoir and the approval of directional and speed-reduction signs. If directional signs can help divide the volume of traffic with a route in and a separate route exiting the reservoir, the traffic on the most impacted road, Ashland Ridge, would decrease. An abnormally low “recreation zone” speed may also improve conditions. Additional first steps should include elevated Unified Police Department enforcement efforts during high traffic times and city-wide education on the need to alter traffic hazards near the reservoir. Secondary levels of intervention could include the possible installation of concession stands, expanding the “recreation speed zones,” more engineered solutions with one-way roads, adoption of specific park-use ordinances, and providing even more emphasis on enforcement. The stands would not only generate revenue to hasten the reservoir’s completion but would provide a measure of on-site security. During my time at the reservoir, neighbors reported simply wearing an orange city vest had the effect of calming traffic and reservoir nuisances. The least intrusive solution to residents and patrons alike should be the solution implemented by the city.
City residents are often originally attracted to the parks, trails, open space and recreation available in Herriman. Residents want to enjoy the reservoir and other forms of entertainment in our city with minimal hassle or cost. As non-residents experience our Herriman lifestyle, they generate a positive economic impact. Residents relocating from other cities have a positive economic impact and also make our city more attractive to prospective businesses. Diverse recreational opportunities undoubtedly have a positive economic impact on our city.
The implementation of voting districts has, in my opinion, had no effect on the discussion of this issue. I observed all five elected officials in attendance at the Black Ridge Reservoir neighborhood meeting and candidates from other districts as well. Although I am a resident and candidate from District 2, I have a vested interest in the success of the city and not only volunteered to help gather data but also have met with city engineers to share solutions.
I hope this information has been helpful. I appreciate the chance to share with you my perspective and look forward to discussing issues with you in the future.
Mike Day District #4
As I posted up top I don’t expect a response from him so here is what he put on his blog, not specific to what I asked the others but on topic for the issue:
On Thursday, August 11th the city council met to decide what actions need to be taken to alleviate the problems caused by the increase in traffic along Emmeline and Ashland Drive.
We were unanimous in our vote to close the park for the remainder of the season at 8:30 PM. We also are prohibiting pets at the reservoir for the remainder of the season. I pushed for three items that I believe will get us on the road to solving our problems in this area of Herriman:
1. A $5,000 fee study (we have to implement a study before we can charge a fee – government rules) to determine what kind and amount of fee we can charge at the reservoir.
2. $3,500 in directional signage with Escher being changed to a one-way street.
3. $11,000 in striping Emmeline to reduce speeds and help calm traffic
We were able to see two of the three requested items pass, but were not able to get the requisite votes to do the fee study. Two members of the council were against ever charging a fee and one member of the council would like to outline the parameters of the study before we spend the money to execute the fee.
Mayor Mills did not want to change any streets around the reservoir to one-way streets at this time. He felt that the directional signs will change behavior and that if they do not, that perhaps we can then implement more stringent measures at a future date. Several members of the council agreed with this direction, so with this in mind we were able to secure the funds to post signs instructing patrons of the reservoir to exit in an eastern direction along Ambermont towards Juniper Crest.
I have been a proponent of a non-resident fee for patrons of this unique recreation area. Herriman has the only sandy beach in the valley, and as home owners in Herriman all pay $5 monthly to maintain our parks, a non-resident fee balances the burden placed on city staff and will help to mitigate some of our traffic issues as well. I believe closing the park earlier will help solve some of our problems, but I still contend that a fee will help to curtail traffic and make things even for non-residents as we all pay a fee to keep our parks at a level that draws people to them.
There has been some talk amongst folks in Herriman of charging Riverton residents to use the reservoir. As we are partners in this project, I do not support charging Riverton residents for use of this recreation facility.