Roy Calming Circle

Just yellow paint and a patch of new asphalt remain in this photo from Tuesday, May 7, 2019, where a calming circle once sat at the intersection of 5700 South and 3750 West in Roy. The device aimed to slow traffic passing through the residential neighborhood, but many didn't like it, leading to its removal.

ROY — Roy City Councilman David Tafoya figured something had to be done.

The clamoring against a calming circle at the 5700 South-3750 West intersection had persisted, seemingly non-stop, ever since its installation last November.

“Month after month after month, people complained and there’s no action and something had to be done,” he said.

So finally, on April 19, he pushed. After speaking to a neighbor, getting word that most who lived around the device were sick and tired of it, Tafoya spoke to City Manager Matt Andrews. Could Andrews make the call administratively to tear out the small raised island, meant to slow traffic traveling through the residential neighborhood?

It’s been a hot topic in Roy, focus of debate at City Council meetings, and Andrews said he wanted to know that the council had his back, that council members were on board. Tafoya got on his phone, got the go-ahead from three of the four other council members, he said, and by the afternoon of April 19, the calming circle was history. The intersection had been cleared.

“Everybody just wanted it out. We knew it was going to come out, anyway,” Tafoya said.

  • What do you think of the process by which the calming circle was removed? Scroll to the bottom of the story and answer the survey question.

To address speeding, traffic humps, instead, are to go in along 5700 South on the two approaches to 3750 West. Still, nearly three weeks later, the unexpected turn of events and the process Tafoya followed in finally getting it out, rankles some.

“I hated it,” said Mayor Bob Dandoy.

Roy calming circle 02 (copy)

An auto passes through the calming circle at 5700 South and 3750 West in Roy on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019. The new traffic-control device, meant to slow vehicles and control speeding in the area, generated mixed feelings and it was removed on April 19, 2019.

Councilman Bryon Saxton — the sole council member Tafoya couldn’t reach that day — was no fan of the traffic circle. He had also clamored for its removal. Whatever the case, he, too, bristles at the process that led to the action — behind the scenes. Given the intense controversy on the issue, the final decision to remove the device should have played out in the public. Indeed, a public meeting had been set for May 1 to discuss the issue.

“It erodes the whole perception of government operating in the open,” Saxton said. “I think the process stunk. It absolutely undermines what we were trying to do with the public. Full transparency is absolutely the best way to treat your constituents. This councilman went out of his way to circumvent the process.”

That the calming circle was removed without a replacement plan to address speeding is what gets Dandoy. Pending installation of the traffic humps — the consensus fix reached at the May 1 meeting, 12 days after the calming circle’s removal — Dandoy said he’s received word from police that speeds have edged up among autos traveling through the 5700 South-3750 West intersection.

Having determined the intersection was something of a hazard because of autos exceeding the 25 mph speed limit, he worries about the city being liable should something bad happen there, before the speed humps are put in place.

The humps — 10- to 12-foot wide and three- to four-inches high — are to be bolted into the ground on 5700 South on the east and west approaches to 3750 West and tried on a trial basis. Like calming circles, they are designed to force motorists to take their feet of their accelerators.

‘A WEIRD FIGHT’

The whole thing may be a moot point now.

Dandoy just wishes the future of the calming circle had gotten a public airing at the May 1 meeting. Some were actually OK with the device and asked at the gathering why it had been removed, he said.

Tafoya counters, noting that it was an administrative decision that led to installation of the calming circle in the first place. Though the circle generated more controversy than most traffic-control measures, elected officials, he noted, don’t typically get involved in decisions about installing things like stop signs and street lights.

Saxton, for his part, notes the similarities between the installation and removal of the calming circle. “The thing is, the circle went in almost as mysteriously as it came out,” he said. “It was a weird fight.”

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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