The Crest Haven neighborhood showed up to fight a proposed expansion of University Boulevard through their neighborhood as part of the city’s transportation plan; consequently, the city council decided to shelve the plan for reevaluation over the next four months.
Serena Kugath, a longtime Rexburg resident, passed out flyers and organized much of the turnout.
“I’d say about two-thirds of the people here are from our neighborhood,” Kugath said.
The neighborhood’s main concern was an expansion of University Boulevard; instead of curving north to the town, it would continue east and intersect with South Second Street East.
The transportation plan forum was scheduled to last an hour, but two hours later, there were still about 70 residents in the hall. Some were standing against the wall and others were waiting in the foyer.
The biggest conversation seemed to center on transparency.
“There’s been a lot of obfuscation around what this would entail, it’s hard to know how much they seem to be hesitating,” Kugath said.
Some residents mentioned how difficult it was to access the full proposal online, while others said it was rarely updated with the actual roads as committees made changes.
Several residents brought up child safety concerns as the large road would cut right between the neighborhood and the local meetinghouse for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Children and youth who often walk there for activities would now have to cross a four-lane road with a faster speed limit.
One resident compared the proposal to the Teton Dam flood of 1976.
Brent Harris, a resident who doesn’t live in Crest Haven but comes to many city meetings, felt good about the results.
“I think the city (council) was impressed with the amount of feedback,” Harris said.
Bryanna Johnson, a city council member, agreed with Harris.
“Despite the challenge, I’m glad people show up,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to do this job when you don’t get feedback. That should be the driving force.”
The new road proposal was removed from the table until next January.