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UDOT Brings Buffered Bike Lanes to North University Avenue and Beyond

by Aaron Skabelund, Provo Bicycle Committee Chair

Late last fall, UDOT dramatically transformed North University Avenue by installing bike lanes—almost of all buffered—from 700 North to 5200 North, where they connect to the Provo River Trail on the north end of the Riverwoods near the mouth of Provo Canyon.

Here is what they look like from a drone.

A photo taken last November of the new buffered bicycle lanes across from the Riverwoods. UDOT soon thereafter installed “no parking” signs so bicyclists like the one pictured no longer have to go around cars parked in the lane.

In total, UDOT added 3.27 miles of buffered bike lanes in each direction, or 6.54 total miles. These are the first buffered bike lanes on a state route in Utah. They also added .88 miles in each direction, or 1.76 total miles of standard bike lanes on the south end from 700 North to University Parkway, where a lack of width and too many driveways did not allow for buffered bike lanes. They posted over 112 signs along the route—from “No Parking” to “Bike Lane” signs—and in addition to the lines, painted many bike markers on University and at every cross street with traffic lights on that section to signal to bicyclists that the overhead radar will detect them at those intersections.

Here are some of those markers:

And in more detail. The third marker is one of those as a cross street, in this case at Bulldog.

“The University Avenue project came about because we knew that many people use it to gain access to Provo Canyon,” observed UDOT’s Matt Parker. “We realized that there are different users and that many people do not want to mix with pedestrians on the Provo River Trail as it is dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists if the cyclists are moving very fast. Those who ride on the road are the ones that would not be comfortable on the trail and we saw many people riding on the road with no bike lanes. Obviously something needed to be done to ensure that all users could use the facility safely.”

What is even more exciting than these lanes on North University is that this is not a one-time move by UDOT but part of a trend and emblematic of a change in UDOT’s culture. Several years ago, UDOT Regional Offices began to form active transportation committees. The committee of the Region 3 Office, which oversees the 6 counties of Utah, Wasatch, Juab, Duchesne, Uintah and Daggett, is led by Parker. The committee referenced the Utah Collaborative Active Transportation Study (UCATS) map and coordinated with Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) on the existing infrastructure. They looked at existing gaps in the infrastructure and tried to start filling those gaps with recommended projects. They validated that information by asking those who ride and are employed by UDOT, discussing the projects with MAG and cities in Utah County.

In short, as UDOT Deputy Director Shane Marshall emphatically declared at last year’s Utah Bike Summit last year, UDOT is transforming itself into a department of transportation rather than a department of roads. UDOT and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recognize that transportation is moving people, not just vehicles/cars. Parker’s role in Region 3 is to ensure that UDOT spend its resources. “If we can get more people using other forms of transportation,” Parker recognizes, “we can move more people more efficiently. I am an avid cyclist and would—like many people—ride my bike more if we had better infrastructure that ensured our safety.”

Here is a big shout out to UDOT leadership—from Director Carlos Braceras and Marshall at the top to Region 3 Director Teri Newell, Parker, and their team in Orem. Thanks also to Mayor Curtis and Public Works for their support of this project.

We look forward to more projects in the near future. This summer, Parker reports, bike lanes will go down on Geneva Road between University Parkway and 400 North in Orem. And of course, as part of the BRT project, the lanes on University Avenue will be extended south from 700 North to 600 South. Elsewhere in Provo, UDOT is looking to put in lanes on State Street (500 West) and to close existing gaps in the bikeway network. UDOT’s dramatic transformation and bike-friendly policies almost have us wishing there were more state roads in Provo.

ACTION ALERT: Take This Survey About Provo River Trail Improvements

Help improve the Provo River Trail by taking this short online survey.

Thanks to the RAP tax, some major (and greatly needed) improvements are coming to our beloved trail. The Provo Parks Department is committed to doing it right and have funds to do some amazing things so please share your ideas, big or small.

Resident feedback plays a HUGE role in projects like this, so please take the survey and share it with your like-minded friends.

Provo Awarded Silver Recognition from League of American Cyclists

by Aaron Skabelund, Provo Bicycle Committee Chair

This month, the League of American Bicyclists announced that Provo has improved its ranking as a Bicycle Friendly Community to silver up from bronze, which we achieved four years ago. Of the 103 communities recognized in this round, Provo was just one of four to move up in rank. Provo now ranks among around 100 communities ranked at the platinum (5), gold (25), and silver (about 70) level.

Notably the League highlighted the leadership of Mayor John Curtis and the advocacy of our committee in its press release:

“Several communities stood out for the on-bike examples of their mayors and for their recognition of how bicycling can bring people together. Provo, UT, moved from a Bronze to a Silver award. Mayor John Curtis has become an avid road cyclist and a regular bike commuter since he was elected mayor — committing to ride 100 days during the year. Through his commitment and the efforts of the Provo Bicycle Committee, there has been a sharp increase in political and community support of bicycling in Provo.”

In the coming weeks, I will share some of the feedback we received from the League about how we can continue to make Provo even more bicycle-friendly, but for now let’s celebrate this recognition and thank everyone who helped make Provo a better place to live, beginning with Mayor Curtis and the folks in Public Works, Community Development, Parks, and the Police Department, as well as you, the members of the Provo Bicycle Committee!

Big Improvements Coming to the Provo River Trail

Thanks to the passing of the RAP (recreation, arts, and parks) tax, Provo will soon be seeing some much-needed improvements to the southern portion of the Provo River Trail (headed towards Utah Lake).

Those of us who ride the trail regularly are likely to have a long list of trail wishes – improving safety, increasing visibility, reducing blind corners…

What would you like to see? Start thinking now so you can weigh in with the city when the time is right.

If you’re not sure, hop on your bicycle and ride the Provo River Parkway down to Utah Lake. It’s a GORGEOUS ride right now, with tunnels of shimmering golden leaves and even jack-o’-lanterns shining from the shore near the ropes course.

Image: Mariott

Introducing Provo’s New Bikeway: The Lakeview Parkway Trail

A short photo essay by Joli Hunt, who regularly bikes to school and work along 500 West and hopes the day it will be striped with bike lanes is not too far away.

Have you had a chance yet to bike on Provo newest trail? It’s all the rave for us who live near south 500 West and anyone else living in southwest Provo. It can be enjoyed, however, by those far and near. The 3.7 mile-long Lakeview Parkway and Trail that runs parallel to the road on its south side stretches from I-15 to the Provo Municipal Airport and has access points at 1860 South (via the walkway that crosses at I-15 from the East Bay Technology Park), 500 West, 1100 West, and 3110 West near the airport.

Exciting, right? The trail makes possible riding on the edge of southwest Provo and opens up some wonderful vistas of the surrounding fields, and as the name indicates, views of the lake, and mountains in the distance. On both sides you can see fields and pastures where ranchers and livestock, farmer and their crops have been contributing to Utah’s food supply for many generations.

Thanks to Mayor Curtis and other city officials who insisted that this separated multi-use trail be built as part of the road project. The trail is a wonderful amenity and helps to improve the quality of life of all Provo residents, especially those who live nearby in southwest Provo. I hope access to the trail is made safer with the creation of bike lanes on 500 West.

Looking west along the trail near 500 West. Notice the parking lot on the right side where you drive and then bike from if you live too far way to bicycle from. Parking is found in multiple places along the road where you can park your car and the bike or walk along the multi-use path.  Read more

Volunteer to Construct Slate Canyon Mountain Bike Skills Course

Hurrah! The new Slate Canyon Mountain Bike Course is starting to take shape.

And, your help is needed.

Be a part of Provo mountain biking history by volunteering to haul, dig, and help create the course. Email your name, phone number, and email address to jamielittlefield at gmail, and I’ll pass your info on to the organizers.

Big thanks to Parks & Rec and all the willing volunteers.

Provo Bicycle Committee Recognized with Local Advocacy Award

Congratulations to the Provo Bicycle Committee! This dedicated group was recently recognized for their tireless efforts with the 2016 Local Advocacy Award from Bike Utah.

A delegate from the committee received the award on behalf of the group, including current chair Aaron Skabelund and former chair Zac Whitmore.

If you’re a part of the committee, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back! Because of you, we’ve made some incredible progress. If you’d like to join in the fun, sign up to receive updates about committee meetings and projects. Everyone is invited to participate and give what they can.

Massive Ride-the-Parkway Provo Celebration

Grab your bikes, trikes, boards, skates, and scooters and ride on down to the grand opening of Provo’s Lakeview Parkway! The new westside connector is about to open and to celebrate we’re hosting a non-motorized All-Wheels Festival! This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the open road and take advantage of the brand new corridor. Pedal on over to 1100 West and 1560 South on Wednesday, October 12 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm for a once-in-a-lifetime event!

  • Grant opening celebration with giant inflatable arch, candy cannon shooting off delicious treats, countdown from the crowd, and an official ribbon cutting.
  • Decorate your ride contest with prizes forthe most creative, craziest, cutest, and best decorated forms of transportation.
  • Free hot chocolate for the first 200 riders.
  • Food truck round-up… so come hungry!
  • Bounce house madness with a Challenge Obstacle Course, 25-foot Dual Lane Mega Slide, and Castle Bounce House.
  • Free bike tune-ups and registration. Everest Bike Repair, Provo’s newest bike repair shop will be offering free bike tune-ups to anyone who brings their bicycle to the event. Provo City will be offering free bicycle licensing (to help track down your bicycle should it get lost or stolen).
  • Lots more!

Whatever you ride, you won’t want to miss this massive Provo celebration. Find out more details on the Mayor’s blog and on the official Facebook event.

Provo Bicycle Survey: 3 Minutes to Help the League of American Cyclists Review Provo

The Provo Bicycle Committee has applied to renew Provo’s status as a Bicycle-Friendly City. Now, the League of American Cyclists wants to hear from YOU!

Please take 3 minutes to complete this quick online survey. Your responses will help provide context as the League is making its award-level decision and will also provide data that will be used to make Provo even more bicycle friendly.

Don’t forget to share the link with your Provo friends and neighbors.

Even a quick action like this can make a difference; thanks for helping out!

Imagine Riding the Provo River Trail to Deer Creek and Beyond: Imagine No Longer. This Will Soon be a Reality!

Besides funding for a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the Union Pacific tracks at the Provo Frontrunner Station, the other major project related to Provo that the $20M Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant will help make possible is a 2.75 mile extension of Provo River Trail from Vivian Park to the Deer Creek Reservoir Trail. At the reservoir, the extension will connect to the Provo-Jordan River Parkway Trail that stretches around the west side of Deer Creek. Four million dollars (one-fifth of the total) of the grant is to be allocated to this project. The estimated cost of the trail is $4.6M. The expected completion date has not yet been determined.

This is what part of that area between Vivian Park and Deer Creek looks like now. From above, you can see the road, the railroad track, and the Provo River. Some roadies brave riding on the shoulder of US-189, but for less risk-adverse, more casual recreational bicyclists (and pedestrians), there is no safe route up Provo Canyon after Vivian Park.

This is what part of that area between Vivian Park and Deer Creek looks like now. From above, you can see the road, the railroad track, and the Provo River. Some roadies brave riding on the shoulder of US-189, but for less risk-adverse, more casual recreational bicyclists (and pedestrians), there is no safe route up Provo Canyon after Vivian Park.

This is what the area looks like from the ground.

This is the view that most folks, including people on bicyclists, are most acquainted. It is the end the line. Here the immensely popular Provo River Trail, a 15-mile multi-use pathway starting at Utah Lake, dead ends at the start of the Heber Valley Historical Railway at Vivian Park.

Here is a map of the new trail as it will extend from Vivian Park to Deer Creek along “Heber Creeper” railway line. This project is made possible thanks to railway company opening up its right-of-way for the trail.

Here is an example of a rock and landscape separation between a trail and railroad.

And once you get to Deer Creek, bicyclists will be able to continue around the west side of the reservoir to Stringtown Road in Heber City, not far from Soldier Hollow.

Happy riding ahead! Please keep watching bikeprovo.org for updates as this project moves forward.