Augusta Liddic/The Daily TimesThe city is debating the addition of a stoplight at the intersection of Pinon Hills Boulevard and Dustin Avenue.
Augusta Liddic/The Daily Times The city is debating the addition of a stoplight at the intersection of Pinon Hills Boulevard and Dustin Avenue.
FARMINGTON — Two city streets lie at the heart of an ongoing city council debate.

The intersection of Dustin Avenue and Pinon Hills Boulevard represents the confluence of the city's small town past and its growing future.

That confluence is creating an ongoing public safety risk according to Councilman Jason Sandel, but according to a traffic study released earlier this month, the intersection does not qualify for traffic signalization.

Sandel has been an advocate for signalization at the intersection for about two years.

"People don't want to call Pinon Hills Boulevard a bypass, but that's what it was designed to be," he said. "What people do when they pass Butler going west they begin to speed up. They reach maximum velocity at Dustin. Then you have people coming from the east going up the hill and they're flooring it. How many wrecks, how many lives is it going to take?"

Traffic at the intersection is further impacted by Pinon Hills Community Church, Cedar Ridge Inn Nursing Home and Farmington First Assembly of God on the north side of the intersection.

Pinon Hills Community Church offered to provide funding toward a stoplight at the intersection about two years ago, Sandel said.

"They wanted it so badly," he said. "We refused to take the money."

Councilman Dan Darnell echoed a number of Sandel's concerns.

"Of all the intersections on the (Pinon Hills Boulevard corridor), this one's just different," Darnell said.


While he agreed that some kind of traffic control is necessary at the intersection, a traffic signal may not be the best solution, he said.

Community concern about the intersection dates to the mid-1990s.

An Oct. 16, 1996, Daily Times story detailed a city council debate over extending Dustin Avenue to connect with Pinon Hills Boulevard. Mayor Tom Taylor told residents that plans for the bypass had been in place since the 1970s. Residents responded that they should have been notified even though the roads had been planned years ago.

Residents on Dustin Avenue were worried about increased traffic and speeding in the area.

For Roberts, the situation is a balancing act.

"Anecdotally, I've had more people contact me not wanting signalization than those that do," he said. "Signalization is not a cure-all. The (traffic study) gives us a starting point. I think that's important, but it doesn't have to be applied without exception."

The most recent study should be used as an objective starting point when considering the intersection, Roberts said.

"If you don't start with an objective standard, it's case-by-case, it's subject to extreme emotions," he said.

The city has explored other traffic control methods in the past, Roberts said.

Around 2005, the city nearly approved a roundabout at the intersection of 30th Street and Farmington Avenue, he said.

While the city has not looked into installing a roundabout at Pinon Hills Boulevard and Dustin Avenue, other solutions such as flashing warning lights leading up to the intersection could be options, Roberts said.

"There's no easy answer to these kinds of situations," he said.