Provo was represented at annual Utah Bike Summit by nearly twenty people who live and/or work in Provo. The contingent rivaled the number of attendees even when the summit was held at the Provo Library back in 2015. Provo attendees included neighborhood chairs, city officials, public health experts, BYU representatives and BYU students, and local tourism officials.
This year’s summit was held at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center in West Valley City on Tuesday, March 13. Many of the Provo participants took Frontrunner to the Murray Station and then enjoyed a lovely ride on the Jordan River Pathway to the venue.
The conference featured keynote speaker, Guillermo Penalosa, the former Commissioner of Parks, Sports and Recreation in Bogotá and chair of 8 80 Cities that is dedicated to simple but powerful philosophy; if you create a great city for an 8 year old and an 80 year old, you will create a successful city for all people. In addition, officials from regional UDOT offices presented and took questions, and panels explored advocacy, planning & engineering, and health in three sessions of simultaneous presentations. In one of those, committee member and Timp Neighborhood Chair Shannon Bingham and Provo City traffic engineers Jared Penrod and Shane Winters presented on the 500 North active transportation project.
Here are some impressions of some of the Provo attendees:
“Hearing Gil Penalosa speak about healthy, vibrant, and sustainable communities for everyone regardless of age, gender, or social status [was great]. His focus on the design and use of parks and streets as great public places, as well as sustainable mobility: walking, riding bicycles, taking public transit, and new uses of cars was the highlight of the summit for me.”
-Shannon Bingham, Timp Neighborhood Chair
“I went to the bike summit expecting to hear about many of the small details of cycling in Utah. I was so pleasantly surprised when most speakers focused on the broad social impacts that increased cycling can have in Utah. You did not have to be an engineer or planner to understand just how important all of this is.”
-Hayden Andersen, BYU Engineering Student
”How would you feel walking your city’s streets as an 8 year-old? My biggest takeaway was the 8/80 Rule; the idea that a city should feel as comfortable as an 8 or 80 year-old as it does for a 30 year-old. We must ensure our cities are designed with these groups in mind.”
-Austin Taylor, Director, Provo Bicycle Collective
“I attended the Bike Summit as a member of the Provo Bike Committee and also as a City Planner with Orem City. It was great opportunity to sit down with bike advocates from across the state and hear about the latest progress on multi-modal infrastructure. In addition, I was particularly inspired by the perspective and energy of Gil Penalosa. He emphasized that roughly 1/3 of our population in the US does not drive, and that when we design cities for the vehicle we in affect design to greatly exclude these members of our society–the young, the old, and the poor.”
-Kirby Snideman, North Park Neighborhood Chair
“I was more pleased and impressed with the process of attending the Bike Summit. The sessions and speakers were very informative and there are great things happening to facilitate active transportation across Utah. However, the experience of commuting from Provo to West Valley City on bike via surface streets, Front Runner, taking the Jordan River Parkway Trail, and the bike valet service at event really opened my eyes to the kinds of routes and amenities that make bicycling accessible, practical and convenient. Taking a bike instead of a car gave added perspective to the topics and appreciation for the presentations. For [many of my fellow Provo participants] it was no big deal to take your bike, but as a new convert, it helped me understand the reality and importance of a different way of being mobile.”
-John Kau, Chair, BYU Campus Bicycle Committee
“I loved the concept of building cities for 8 year olds and 80 year olds. A community safe and comfortable for people of those ages would be radically different environments, positively so, for all inhabitants. Imagine not having to worry about your daughter or grandmother making their way across the city. Brilliant vision!”
-Hugh Van Wagenen, Joaquin resident and Lindon City Planner
“Once again, learning from people all across the state, the country, and the world about how make Provo an even better place to live by better accommodating and making safe all modes of transportation was invigorating. And it was great not only to think about these principles but to act on them as many of us rode through the streets of Provo, took Frontrunner, and the Jordan River Trail to get to the summit. Thanks to Bike Utah for hosting another great summit.”
-Aaron Skabelund, Rivergrove Neighborhood Co-chair
Provo Bike Month!
Save the date! May is National Bike Month and Provo will be celebrating the many benefits of bicycling! Whether you bike to work or school, ride to save money or time, pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment, or simply to explore your community – you’re going to love the events and activities we’ve got planned. We’ve put together a month full of events and activities to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride!
“On Saturday, March 24th, dozens of children lined up to receive a free bicycle from Provo Bicycle Collective.
Within one hour, PBC had given all 53 bikes to children for free.
Our hope is that each bike recipient uses his or her bike to get to school each day and continues that habit into adulthood. This way, we can reduce traffic, clean Utah’s air, and create a healthier population.
We need your support in this cause!
Donate money or bikes today. $30 provides a bike for a child in need! Please give today!“
At the City Council on January 23rd, Committee member Rachel Whipple presented Colby Sanford with this year’s Winter Commuter Award.
Here is Rachel’s recognition of Colby.
“For the past seven years, the Provo Bicycle Committee has been recognizing outstanding
bicycle commuters for their contribution to Provo by awarding the Golden Spoke Award.
We believe in cycling as an effective and sustainable form of transportation that can help create
a cleaner, healthier, and safer society. It has the advantage of being fun, too.
Several years ago, I received the Golden Spoke for giving up our family car during Lent and
blogging about my experiences cycling and walking. So I am happy to be able to pass this
award on to another person who bicycles.
Three years ago, we began recognizing winter bicycle commuters with the help of Canyon–now
Hangar 15–Bicycles, which generously sponsors the winter award.
In an action unanimously approved by the Committee, I am pleased to award Colby Sanford
as the recipient of the 2018 Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award.
This winter, Colby has been documenting his bicycle commute, taking pictures of his bike, and sending them to his friend, Chris Wiltsie, the newly elected chair of the bike committee. Colby’s bicycle commute from his home in the Maeser Neighborhood to BYU started out of necessity, but has became intrinsically valuable for him. Although this story began as private exchange of photos and encouragement between these two that strengthened their friendship, the consistency and example of Colby cycling, in all sorts of weather and the documentation of it, are making an important contribution to bicycling in Provo.
Colby is a university student, like many Provo residents, and an artist. In the latter capacity, he
is very active in the Provo art scene and contributes to the eclectic vibrance of our community.
The Provo Bicycle Committee would like to thank Colby for showing all of us that it is possible to bicycle commute in winter, even when it snows.”
The reorganization of the committee (see post below) and the beginning of a new mayoral administration seem like a good time to pause and reflect on the past before we continue to accelerate our momentum in making Provo a more bicycle-friendly community, so as a historian (my day job) I decided to write up this brief history.
The committee was first established in the early 2000s and first led by Travis Jensen, a civil (traffic) engineering student at BYU. (Travis is now a bicycle infrastructure planner in SLC.) The committee worked with city engineers to make some important initial infrastructural improvements but after Travis graduated the committee entered a several-year hiatus. In late 2009, Zac Whitmore, Jamie Littlefield, and I revived the committee, and reached out to newly elected Mayor John Curtis, who recognized it, as he put it in our first meeting with him, as the “Mayor’s Provo Bicycle Committee.” That summer, Jamie had created this blog, bikeprovo.org, which along with social media became an important tool to spread word of our work. The blog also serves as an excellent record of our efforts and achievements. (If you would like to know more about some of the projects and initiatives mentioned below, please scroll down and back through time for more information.)
The committee, while not an official city body, enjoyed the support of the mayor and worked collaboratively with several city departments. This quasi-official status enabled us to collaborate city officials, both elected and non-elected, but take a more activist role at times. In 2009, we began to meet monthly, first in the offices of Economic Development, then in a Council conference room, for a while in the Community Oriented Policing Building, and since last year in the Community Development building. We have been regularly joined by representatives from Public Works, Community Development, Police, Parks, and Economic Development, as well as the County Health department. We have hosted presenters from UDOT, UTA, MAG, Bike Utah, and many other organizations. Our average attendance during these last few years has ranged between 15 to 25 participants, but early on sometimes we only had only a few people show up. Although we would like Provo to undergo a bicycle revolution and become overnight a platinum-level bicycle friendly city, we have been pleased with the progress that Provo had made in becoming, physically and culturally, a great bike town.
In the last eight years, some of the accomplishments of the committee include:
- Made tremendous progress, most importantly, toward the creation of a robust integrated network of bikeways throughout Provo. These include both major and minor improvements. Building support for a number of major and minor infrastructural improvements, including bike lanes and a multi-use pathway on 300 South and Utah’s second bike-signal at 200 East, the Lakeshore Drive multi-use trail, buffered bike lanes on North University Avenue, and bike lanes all across the city including on south 500 West.
- Helped put several projects solidly in the pipeline that will happen in 2018 and 2019: protected bike lanes on Bulldog Blvd, a neighborhood bikeway on 200 East including Utah’s third bike-signal at 700 North as part of the BRT project, buffered bike lanes on 500 West between Center Street and Bulldog, another neighborhood bikeway on 800 East and 450 North linked by a cross-block path from 900 East to 800 East, and bike lanes on Canyon Road in the North Timpview and Edgemont Neighborhoods.
- Achieved recognition for Provo from the League of American Bicyclists as a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community. We had applied and been awarded bronze-level status in 2012. Gold and platinum are to come.
- Established a sense of community among bicyclists by holding a variety of rides (including the ongoing Monday Night Night Rides) and events (such as periodic Provelo picnics that included bike jousting). The Provo Bicycle Committee FB group now boasts nearly 500 members.
- Helped create the Provo Bicycle Collective. Zac and Krysta Whitmore and other committee members incubated the collective (which we are sometimes confused with), which after a few lean years became a thriving branch of the Salt Lake Bike Collective with an ideal location just south of the BYU campus at 200 North/400 East. It is now open five days a week, managed by Austin Taylor, and has helped thousands of people obtain refurbished bikes and learn to fix and maintain their bikes.
- Organized three tactical urbanism projects—first in 2014 on University Avenue to call for pedestrian and bicycle improvements as part of the BRT project, then in 2015 on 200 East to build support for it becoming a neighborhood bikeway, and last year (2017) on 500 North in front of the Rec Center to pilot buffered bike lanes (which were implemented) and pedestrian improvements (which have yet to be realized).
- Worked with UTA and then the city to organized Bike to Work Day in May, and transformed it from into Bike to Work Week, and for the last three years Bike Month, that has included among other events a Bike to Work Day where local business sponsor breakfast stations, a Ride of Silence, a Bike Prom, bike-in-movies, a Ghost Ride, a family bike event sponsored by Downtown Provo, and participation in the National Bike Challenge. The committee also recognizes both summer and winter dedicated bicycle commuters at a city council presentation.
- Successfully encouraged the City Council to adopt the Provo Bicycle Master Plan in 2013.
- Supported the city’s plans to improve the Provo River Trail in 2018 and 2019.
- Supported the construction of a mountain bike skills park at Slate Canyon Park. One element—a downhill course—was completed in 2017. A pump-track is planned.
- Hosted the Utah Bicycle Summit (and Gary Fisher) in Provo in 2016.
- Represented the bicycling community on UTA BRT stakeholder committee to ensure that bicycling and pedestrian improvements are a part of the construction of this massive transit project. This had led to improvements of the College Connector Trail, the Provo River Trail tunnel under University Parkway, the aforementioned bike-signal at 700 W/200 E, and most importantly bike lanes on University Avenue from 700 North to 600 South along the BRT route (thanks to the efforts of then Mayor Curtis). (We have also provided support for the construction of a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the tracks at the Provo Frontrunner Station.)
- Organized since 2011 an annual Bike to School Week in the Provo School District, which involves almost all K-12 schools and local bike shops to encourage hundreds of students to ride.
- Arranged for consulting for Provo High School and several elementary school to be rebuilt in a more bicycle friendly manner.
- Supported BYU to become a Bicycle Friendly University (now at the bronze-level) through infrastructural improvements and programming.
- In 2016, Bike Utah recognized the Provo Bicycle Committee with the 2016 Local Advocacy Award.
Thanks to everyone who has supported the committee over the years. History is moving in our direction. Let’s move it forward even faster.
“Bike mechanics has traditionally been a male-dominated trade. Let’s change that.
Women’s volunteer hours are designed to create a safe and inclusive space for learning bike mechanics. All bicycles repaired by volunteers are given away to people who couldn’t otherwise afford one, giving independent transportation to those who need it most. Our goal in creating this program will be reached if women feel included in our volunteer program.
We invite all women and other female-identifying people to join us during these volunteer hours to repair bikes for those in need. We need your help!
Provo Bicycle Collective gave away 408 bikes in 2017 and with your help, we will give away many more in the years to come.”
Current volunteer hours for this program are Mondays from 4pm to 7pm. Drop in anytime during those hours to join.
Parking was a hot topic in local politics during 2017. Some citizens feel they can never park their cars close enough to their destination. Frustrated residents of dense neighborhoods feel they don’t have enough on-street space to park their cars. Small business owners feel that they need more parking to attract clients. Provo has taken a step in the right direction by hiring Matthew Taylor as the city’s parking administrator to help solve these issues.
Instead of debating these points, we’d like to point out that bicycle parking costs much less than car parking.
By choosing to ride, we decrease the need for more car parking spaces. This means businesses and governments can spend less on parking. What does this mean for you? Lower prices at the grocery store, lower tuition cost, lower taxes; etc.
As demand for bike parking increases, organizations will have to invest in quality bike parking. What makes ideal bike parking?
Along with a trusted lock, good bike parking keeps your bike safe.
A good bike racks will have the following characteristics:
Let’s all resolve to do the following to advocate for good bike parking throughout Provo:
- Ask for bike parking where you shop.
- Ask for bike parking where you work.
- Ask for bike parking where you live.
- Draw attention to businesses with attractive bike parking.
At the Committee’s first meeting of 2018 on January 4, we reorganized the structure and elected and appointed new leadership. The most impressive ingredient of the meeting was the energy and enthusiasm. We may have had a record turn-out with no fewer than 27 attendees.
Based on the charter we adopted late last year, we elected Chris Wiltsie as the new chair and Christina Catron as secretary with Rachel Whipple as assistant secretary. Equally as important, over twenty members of the committee agreed to act as coordinators for three different kinds of projects: bikeways, events and special, and other initiatives.
Here is a list of project coordinator appointments. If you would like to know more about or help out with a particular project, please contact the coordinator. If you are interested in serving in some capacity, please let us know.
- Bulldog/1230 North (protected bike lanes): Aaron Skabelund
- BRT-related lanes and College Connector Trail: Chris Blinzinger
- (North) 500 West: David Harding, Shannon Bingham, Kirby Snideman, Aaron
- (South) 500 W (bike lanes south of I-15): Becky Hunt
- 500 N (pedestrian issues, extension to University in 2018): Shannon Bingham
- Canyon Road (bike lanes in Edgemont): Stuart Withers
- 200 E (neighborhood bikeway): Josh Cordon, Celeste Kennard, Hugh Van Wagenen
- 800 E/450 N (neighborhood bikeway): Wayne Leavitt
- Tree Streets (bike route): Jamin Rowan
- Provo River Trail improvements: Eric Chase
- Dirt trails (Slate Canyon/Bonneville Shoreline Trail):
events and special projects
- Representative to mayor’s budget review committee: Christina Catron
- Active Transportation Pilot: Heather Skabelund, Miles Miller
- Bikeway Tour (spring ride for city officials): Ted Lyon, Grant Skabelund
- Bike to School Week (September): Rachel Whipple
- Bike Month (working with Whitney Booth): Ben Mcmurry, Aaron, Austin Taylor
- Ride of Silence (May): Lucy Ordaz
- Bike map (working with City’s Phil Uhl): Sabrina Huyett, Stuart Withers
- Wayfinding (working with City’s Matt Taylor): Shauna Mecham, Kira Johnson, Daniel Jensen
- Bikeshare (working with City’s Chad Thomas): Naomi Lemoyne, Stuart Withers
- Golden Spoke (Winter and Summer) Bicycle Commuter Award:
- Freedom Festival parade:
- Provo Birthday Historic Homes Ride (March):
- Other events and special projects:
- bikeprovo: Jamie Littlefield
- public relations: Austin Taylor, Kira Johnson
- committee traffic engineering consultant: Clancy Black
- committee planning consultant: Hugh Van Wagenen
- education: Elias Flores and Kai Cox
- walkability: Tinesha Zandemela, Susan Krueger-Barber
- bike parking: Mary Wade
- Bicycle Friendly Business outreach:
- Transportation & Mobility Advisory Committee: Grant Skabelund (will apply)
- Sustainability Committee: Sabrina Huyett
- Transit: Jacob Johnson
- Safe Routes to School
- Other initiatives:
We are confident that the committee’s new leadership and organization will help us accelerate the momentum we have to make Provo even more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.
Here is the charter the committee adopted in late 2017 that went into effect beginning in 2018.
Provo Bicycle Committee
We are group of volunteers seeking to make bicycling an everyday part of people’s lives in our community. Recognized as the Mayor’s Provo Bicycle Committee, we work closely with representatives of city departments to accomplish this objective.
The purpose of the Provo Bicycle Committee is to advance the creation of infrastructure, programs, events, and performance evaluation across Provo that enable and encourage residents of all ages and abilities to get around safely using active transportation modes (primarily bicycling and walking), as well as mass transit.
This purpose will be pursued through the development and implementation of action-oriented projects that encourage local governments to increase and improve conditions for active transportation. Projects are primarily driven by needs identified by group members and may include working with resident stakeholders and reaching out to partner organizations, meetings with officials, and other coalition building exercises. The group will also monitor upcoming opportunities within Provo such as city, state, and UTA initiatives. Projects that lead to widespread citizen engagement and use tactical urbanism as a tool for effecting change are encouraged.
Regular monthly meetings will be held the first Thursday of the month from 5-6 pm. (Currently we meet in the Community Development second floor conference room at 330 W. 100 S.)
At each meeting, we will have a brief handout on active projects so new participants can fit their energy into existing efforts. If members would like information about their project included, they need to send a one-paragraph update by the Monday prior to the meeting. Include a brief overview of the project, its current status, and where support is needed.
Each officer shall
- Serve a two- to three-year term or until their successors are elected
- Be elected by majority vote via ballot by those present
- Not serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office
Chair/Co-Chairs – Responsible for facilitating meetings and keeping the group on task
Secretary – Responsible for taking meeting minutes
Project Coordinators – Responsible for supporting campaigns, including posting petitions and updating information on the website and/or BikeProvo.org
In order to ensure this group is making positive steps forward, we have set some basic rules for how the group and meetings will operate:
Be inclusive – We want more people in Provo to be able to bike and walk safely, and to use mass transit. The more people and partners working to make this a reality, the more quickly and effectively this future can be realized.
No complaining – This group is action- and solution-oriented. You probably came to the Provo Bicycle Committee regarding a lack of infrastructure, a safety concern, or some other issue related to bicycling and/or walking. Let’s determine what the problem is, identify a solution, create a plan, and get to work.
No acronyms – In order to be inclusive, we strive to use language that supports mutual understanding between all group members and those who attend meetings.
You are responsible for the fate of your project – If you are the lead on a project, your own effort will largely dictate its success or failure. People in the group are willing to support you with expertise, connections, and strategy, but you must take ownership of your campaign.
Make a plan – A goal without a plan is just a wish. Developing a plan will allow more people to rally around your cause and increase the likelihood of your campaign’s success. A sample plan can be found in the Transportation Alternatives Activist Guide on pages 22 and 23.
Work gets done between meetings – Most of what will get accomplished will take place outside of the scheduled meetings. Time in the meetings is reserved for short updates, requests for support/guidance, and presentation of new projects. Always leave meetings with a strategy or next steps for moving your project forward.
Healthy Tension – We strive for a healthy tension with all of our projects and our work in general. This type of approach ensures that we push local communities to improve active transportation while maintaining positive relationships and fostering mutual benefit. We practice persistence and patience.