Thumbs up, thumbs down: Who deserves praise and criticism this week?
This undated photo shows a man walking his bike through a work zone along U.S. 89 in Davis County.
Vehicles travel through the intersection at 12th Street and Washington Boulevard in September 2016.
How many times as a kid did your mom scold you for playing in the street? That’s the equivalent of what the Utah Department of Transportation has been forced to do recently, taking on the role of a concerned parent and warning unauthorized people to stay out of construction zones.
UDOT crews began reconstruction of U.S. 89 through Davis and Weber counties back in April, but a spokesperson told the Standard-Examiner they’ve regularly seen residents walking, running and cycling through these dangerous areas, zipping around on motorcycles and four-wheelers and, most alarmingly, allowing children to climb and play on construction equipment.
The behavior is understandable. Road construction is a universally disliked inconvenience — although few would argue with its necessity. And, especially when there doesn’t seem to be any actual activity going on, it can seem harmless to venture into the area. But there are many potential hazards for those who shouldn’t be there.
(Ironically, safety is one of the issues that’s to be addressed by the project, as a growing number of drivers on the highway has led to more crashes.)
But any mishaps that happen as a result of people trespassing in these work zones will only delay the job from getting done. And no one wants that.
Not too long into the school year, COVID-19 cases are already being reported among the student population. While it’s considered contained at this point, the exponential function tells us these numbers will grow slowly, and then rapidly. Communication from local school districts has been acceptable but could certainly use greater transparency. Information is power in parental decision-making. Let’s have more of it.
Taking a look at Ogden’s financial health, city officials reported this week that tax revenues for the last quarter of the expiring fiscal year came in roughly half a million dollars higher than anticipated — part of about $5.6 million in surplus funds the city has collected compared to what was budgeted last year.
While that in itself is good news, the part that really deserves recognition is city leaders’ response to the revelation.
Because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the budgeting process for FY 2021 was intentionally toned down. As a result, customary merit and cost of living pay increases for city employees and step-pay increases for public safety personnel were not issued.
With that in mind, city council members were quick to target the issue as an area to revisit.
“If there are funds to be available, I would like to look at it very closely to look where we’re at with our employees in the city,” Council Member Doug Stephens said.
You can tell a lot about an employer by the way it treats its workers, and while no guarantee to reinstate the pay increases was made, the fact it was brought up right away speaks volumes.
Not all traditions need to live on indefinitely.
Police Chief Randy Watt addressed the Ogden City Council this week on the issue of speed demons racing their cars along Washington Boulevard.
Dragging Main Street — or in Ogden’s case, “the Vard” — is a time honored pastime in cities across America. But at the risk of putting our curmudgeonly side on full display, it really is a risk to public safety and a nuisance to those living in nearby residential properties who are subjected to roaring engines and squealing tires.
OPD apparently has stepped up efforts to patrol the area and catch offenders (unless social media comments are to be believed), and they should continue doing so.
It only takes a second for the fun to turn sour should an accident occur.