The Rexburg City Council suggested that police officers be placed on BYU-I campus as a method of controlling traffic, during the city council meeting on Sept. 16.
During the city council meeting, the city council discussed traffic control, and different suggestions were discussed to help find new ways to help regulate Rexburg traffic.
Many suggestions have been given in order to find new ways to help regulate traffic in Rexburg. The solution to place an officer on BYU-I was taken into consideration, due to having a large increase of traffic as students arrive for new semesters. “When you look at it, BYU-Idaho comes into the city three times a year and that’s an influx, and we know that’s a problem, but I think that might be a solution to place an officer,” said Jordan Busby, assistant principal of Madison High School and council member.
John Millar, director of public works in Rexburg, said that in 2014 there were 20-25 accidents reported along South Yellowstone and University Boulevard intersections, and there have been 30 reported accidents in Rexburg between July 1 and Sept.9, according to the Rexburg Police Department News and Activity Summary.
Busby said that in order to have a better flow of traffic around the intersection before Highway 20, high school seniors could be released about 5-10 minutes before everyone else.
Jerry Merrill, a member of the city council, said that a business owner called him a few days ago due to the traffic getting out of control and it was not allowing employees or customers to get in or out.
Using one of their trucks,Floyd Wilcox & Sons Inc blocked an entrance to the highway in order to help relieve the traffic that was backed up, which was not allowing employees or costumers to exit the streets. Hill suggested a short-term solution that an officer could placed on the high school, during the afternoon when students are being let out of school, for 15 minutes to stoppedestrians for a minute and let the cars go through.
Residents have expressed concern as to why police officers are sitting on the highway instead of being in the city and taking care of traffic problems. Stephen Zollinger, Rexburg city attorney, said the police department receives federal grants to help ensure the safety on Highway 20. “Most of the officers you see out on the U.S. 20, we receive special federal grants, drug and addiction and seatbelt grants,” Zollinger said. “So, they expect us to be on the highways because portions of those grants have to be spent in certain areas. We can’t just randomly rotate back into traffic patrol division. The majority of the time officers that are sitting on U.S. 20 are not there unless they are on granted funds.”
Many people in the city are not aware that these officers are receiving federal money.
“That’s not an answer that everybody likes to hear, that we get federal dollars and we give them to our officers to perform duties above and beyond their regular duties,” Zollinger said.
Traffic is expected to increase this week, as Madison high schools’ homecoming event will take place.
Each year the homecoming parade is getting bigger, and this year every elementary school in Rexburg has been invited to participate, and they have all accepted the invitation.
As a result of the meeting, the city council agreed to discuss with the education board on whether it would be possible, as a short term solution, to release seniors in high school a few minutes earlier.
They would also talk to BYU-I on seeing if it would be a good idea to place officers on campus.