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Jeremiah Hazard, right, Matt Humphries and Patricia Eastman, all 17, protest Monday with their Coeur d'Alene High AP Government classmates at the corner of Strahorn Road and Hayden Avenue in Hayden Lake.

HAYDEN LAKE - Cars blared their horns and drivers waved on Monday morning at the corner of Hayden Avenue and Strahorn Road, where a gaggle of teenagers were raising their fists and shaking signs.

The roughly 25 students from Coeur d'Alene High School were protesting over an issue that has drawn passion in Hayden Lake: The recent conversion of part of Strahorn Road into a one-way road.

Standing for hours in the morning chill, the students aimed at sending a message to the Hayden Lake City Council, said 17-year-old Jeremiah Hazard.

They wanted to see the road made two-way again, he said, and improved to accommodate the heavy traffic.

"We want to see some effort, instead of shutting down the road without talking to people," said Hazard, who lives off Strahorn and said the change has forced him to reroute his daily return from school. "It's a main arterial, they shouldn't block off traffic."

The Hayden Lake City Council voted two years ago to convert Strahorn Road to a one-way between Hayden and Miles avenues, due to the road's deteriorating condition.

The city lacks the $800,000 to $1 million necessary for improvements.

Other issues also prompted the change, like safety concerns for cyclists and pedestrians on the narrow road, and the fact that 50 trees would be chopped to make room for upgrades.

The students on Monday spoke of how the now one-way road by the Hayden Lake Country Club has pushed more traffic into surrounding residential areas, and has made traveling northbound in the area more time consuming.

"See that garbage truck? It had to go all the way around to hit these houses," said Devon Unruh, 17, pointing to a garbage truck that he said would have to re-route around the country club.

"If you have friends who live on that street, it sucks," added Brooke Nipper, 17, who lives on Lookout Drive. "You have to go all the way around, and sometimes it's late at night."

Unruh, who lives in Hayden, added that he has to take a longer route home from school.

"It's the greatest inconvenience," he said.

The protesters argued that the community would be willing to contribute financially to improve the road. Other issues can be overcome with a little creativity, some said.

"The outreach we've seen means people would be willing to support it," said Adam Crandall, 18, a Dalton Gardens resident who drives through Hayden Lake often.

The teens waved signs reading "Honk for 2-way Strahorn" and "End war on transportation."

Hayden Lake Mayor Chris Beck, not mayor when Strahorn became a one-way, said improving the road is more financially feasible with one lane, than two.

"We're working to reconstruct the one lane in 2013," said Beck, who saw the protest on Monday.

Residents of Hayden Lake "by and large" support the one-way street, Beck said.

He doesn't see funds coming through soon to allow for two lanes, he added.

"In the foreseeable future, with the funding we have available, we don't see it changing in the near future," Beck said.

One might wonder why the high school students chose this week to protest the one-way change made in 2010.

Well, their AP Government class was requiring them to participate in eight hours of a government-related activity.

"This is more fun than going to a school board meeting," Nipper said.

The students at least got all the tastes of a decent protest. Drivers honked support, the police dropped by to stop their chanting, and they were interviewed for a newspaper article.

"In all honesty, I wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't for AP," conceded Jill Smith, 17, after waving to more cars. "I think we know it probably won't do anything, but it's nice to see how many people feel the same way we do."

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