KAYSVILLE — The city has connected two recent additions to better serve its teenage citizens.
A new trail now links the new Centennial Junior High School and the recently completed D&RGW Rail Trail.
The new connection at 740 S. Sunset Drive was specifically created for students to safely access their school. There are also several connections between the Rail Trail and the neighborhoods in which many students live.
As a result, students who live on the east side of the school can avoid much of the busy vehicular traffic in the area.
“It’s just so convenient. I’ve heard nothing but great things, even from students, about how much they enjoy how safe they feel there. How easy it is. How dependable it is,” said Brett Garlick, city councilman and parent of two students attending the school.
On the first day of school, Kaysville police began counting the number of students that used the trail. When they reached 100 they stopped counting, according to Kaysville City Engineer, Andy Thompson.
Thompson estimated that 200 to 300 students use the trail on a daily basis.
Tyler Humphreys, an eighth-grader at Centennial, estimated that 80 percent of students using the trail ride their bikes.
“I think it’s better than riding on the street,” Humphreys said. “The kids could get hit by a car on the road. I think it’s a lot safer.”
Tyler’s mother, Kim Humphreys, also has a seventh-grade daughter who uses the trail daily to walk to school with friends. She said she appreciates the access her children have to the trail and the benefits of physical activity they get from using it.
However, Humphreys also expressed her concern with the busy streets her children have to cross to reach the trail.
Many of these streets, such as Old Mill Lane, do not have enough crosswalks, she said.
“There is a trail from our homeowners association that runs along my backyard fence. It dead ends into Old Mill Lane. It would make sense to have a crosswalk there,” Humphreys said, as many students from her neighborhood use that trail as well.
Humphreys lives at 1021 Willowmere Drive in Kaysville.
While many parents view the number of students using the trail as a benefit to their safety, others were concerned with overwhelming the capacity of the trail.
Garlick offered the opinion that the pathways are inherently safer because there are so many students taking the same pathway at the same time.
Jeff Womack, whose 12-year-old daughter attends the school, expressed concerns with conflicts between citizens using the trail for exercise and the students.
Womack said his daughter has experienced angry exercisers who are frustrated with the number of students that flood the trail every day after school.
City Councilman Ron Stephens praised the efforts of the full-time city employees by saying, “I think it’s been commendable what we’ve done in that area to connect (the trail) to the junior high. I think the city has really gone the extra mile.”