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Bike Advocacy Success Story: New Business Racks

During the monthly Bike Committee meetings, we take a few minutes for people to share their “little wins” in advocating for a more bicycle friendly community. During the next few months, we’d like to share a few if these stories on the blog. This one comes from Clancy Black:

Our office is located at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. I take the train and bike from Provo to get here. The office building does not have a bike rack, and I prefer not to leave my bike at the station all day, so I have always brought my bike inside our office. The building manager recently asked me not to do that due to the mess and that it looks “unprofessional”. Her suggestion was that I chain it to a tree outside instead. I explained that by being careful I can reduce most of the mess (don’t lean against wall, carry in hallway, etc.) and that chaining it to a tree outside looks much less professional than storing the bike inside. Anyway, after a few discussions back and forth and after I reached out to the building owner they finally relented and agreed to install a bike rack outside the building. It will be finished this week and you can bet I will be the first to use it.

This is just a small example of how being vocal about how to effectively accommodate cyclists can lead to small change. The building manager will be sending out a memo to all tenants about the bike rack, which will hopefully encourage others to use it and begin biking to work!

Great work, Clancy! If you have a story about your own advocacy to share (encouraging neighbors to ride, helping a business be more bike-friendly, working with a local official…just about anything), please feel free to share it by sending an email to: bikeprovo@gmail.com.

Let’s Talk Trails: October’s Provo Bike Commitee Meeting

Hello! Hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful autumn bicycling weather.

The last Rooftop Concert is this Friday (October 3rd)! If you are interested in volunteering at the bike valet, please contact Heather Skabelund at hskabby@gmail.com.

Our monthly bicycle committee meeting will be this Thursday, October 2, from 5-6 pm at our usual location, the Community Oriented Policing building at 48 North 300 West, just west of the Convention Center.

If you have never attended a meeting, this would be a great one to start with: Jim Price, the trail guru at Mountainlands Association of Governments (the Utah County regional planning agency) who is probably the person most responsible for the valley’s wonderful urban trail system (most recently the Murdoch Canal Trail) will be presenting and discussing how Provo can effectively build on its recently approved Bicycle Master Plan to create a truly integrated network of bike lanes and trails.

Other agenda items include:

Sharing time: personal stories of bicycle advocacy during the last month

Update on planning for the Utah Bike Summit 2015 (Friday, April 10, at the Provo Library) with Bike Utah Director, Phil Sarnoff

Will the city apply for immediate UTA paint to improve bicycle connections to Frontrunner (600 S, South Freedom, and 920 W) and bus stops (500 E, Center St, and 1200 E/Birch) this fall?

Final update on bikeway improvement during this year’s road projects (bicycle markings will be painted on north Canyon Road)

Status of proposal to put lanes on 100 West from 800 North south to 100 North

Quick update on 300 South rebuild and University Avenue BRT developments

Brief Bike to School report

Brief report on BYU’s recent improvements and future plans

Status of Slate Canyon bike skills park project and other trails projects?

Proposal for city to create a position of an Active Transportation (transit, walkability, and bikability)

Budget submission to the mayor

Other items

Hope to see you on Thursday!

Bike-In Movie Tonight (September 12, 2014)

Looking for some family fun tonight? Tonight’s cool September evening will provide just the right temperature ambiance to the great bicycle scenes of “ET” and his friends racing through a Northern California forest on a refreshing Halloween night.

Don’t miss tonight’s Bike-in-Movie capping off the best ever Bike-to-School Week, and be sure to check out some cool booths before the movie begins in the south end of Kiwanis Park. Movie starts at dusk.

Mayor Announces Provo Bike-to-School Week

During the most recent Provo City Council meeting, Mayor John Curtis announced Bike-to-School Week and challenged students to ride at least 3 times this week (September 8-13th).

The week kicks off with individual school events and awards, a bike maintenance workshop on Wednesday, and a bike-in movie on Friday. Check out the event flyer to see the details.

Students from the community were invited to accept the Bike-to-School Week proclamation from the Mayor and shake hands with the Provo City Council members. Thanks to these students for representing the Provo bicycling community and working to become the next generation of cyclists.

Provo Bike-to-School Week 2014

A Week of Prizes, Bike-In Movies, Tune-Up Workshops, and More

For Provo students, school is in full swing. And now is the perfect time to get in the habit of riding as a family. Kids that ride their bike to school start the day with exercise, become more aware of their community, and are better able to concentrate on their studies.

During Provo Bike-to-School Week, our local elementary, middle, and  high schools will offer a variety of programs to help kids get in the habit of riding to school.

Students who bicycle to school will have the opportunity to win daily prizes and a weekly grand prize from Mad Dog Cycles, Taylor’s Bike Shop, Racers Cycle Services, Canyon Bicycles, and Outdoors Unlimited. Several schools will offer bike safety checks and group “bike buses” of students riding together. You can also compete against other participating Provo Schools for the Rad Riders’ Award.

Come to the Provo Bicycle Collective (49 North 1100 West Unit 2) on Wednesday, September 10th from 6-8 p.m. for a free tune-up workshop where you can learn how to do basic maintenance on your own bicycle.

On Friday, September 12th, don’t miss the Bike-In Movie ET, sponsored by Provo Parks and Rec. This classic will begin showing at dark.

Check back here (and be on the lookout for updates from your school) to find out more about Bike-to-School Week. Happy riding!

Making a Difference … (Almost) Instantly!

By Aaron Skabelund, Bike Committee Chair

One of the primary pleasures of being involved with the Provo Bicycle Committee is helping to make Provo more bicycle friendly. Rarely is there instant gratification. But sometimes changes can be made quickly. At our monthly meeting on June 5, Doug Robins, the Director of Parks, briefed the nearly 15 folks in attendance about a variety of projects, including the bike skills park. As we discussed how to remedy the bumps in the asphalt along the Provo River Trail, the issue of the blind underpasses was raised and committee member Spencer Hawkes suggested that Parks consider installing mirrors.

About a week later, I received a call from Mike Hoffman of Parks asking for my input about precisely where and how to install the mirrors. Apparently Doug ordered the mirrors right then and there during the meeting. And just three weeks after the meeting, I received another call from Mike indicating that the mirrors had been installed at the State Street, Columbia Lane, 820 North, and Geneva Road underpasses. Now that’s quick and definitely gratifying.

So here’s a shout out to the Parks Division for their support of bicycling in this instance and in many others. And a shout out to Spencer, who left Provo with his wife Sam for Boston this summer, for his many years of making a difference with the Committee as well as the Provo Bicycle Collective. We will miss you, Spencer and Sam, and (though this sounds a bit too grand) we will carry on your legacy here in Provo working to make a difference for bicycles, slowly but surely and sometimes (almost) instantly.

What little things have you done to make a difference for bicycling in Provo? We’d love to have you share your stories (even the little things) on the Provo Bicycle Committee Facebook group.

Utah Rides for Cancer on Aug 16th

The Central Utah Clinic Foundation is hosting the second annual Utah Rides for Cancer event on August 16, 2014, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event brings the community together to raise funds and awareness for local cancer patients.  Many cancer patients must travel long distances to receive their treatments, making trips to and from the clinic expensive and burdensome for them and their families.  Central Utah Clinic Foundation strives to alleviate some of the burden of cancer treatments by helping patients pay for gas and lodging costs incurred through their travels to the clinic.

Utah Rides for Cancer consists of three rides: metric century (70 miles), half metric century (30 miles), and fun ride (10 miles).  The event will also include a bake sale and a gift basket auction.  Each rider will receive a URC t-shirt and food after the ride.

For more information and to register go to www.utahridesforcancer.com

Be sure to check out the facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/UtahRidesForCancer and watch this video to find out more:

PlayStreet Provo Tomorrow: Saturday, July 19th

If you’re in favor of more inviting neighborhood streets, take part in PlayStreet Provo tomorrow. Here are the details from the PlayStreet Provo website:

What is PlayStreet Provo?

PlayStreet Provo is a day of free family-centered fun in Downtown Provo. 100 South will be closed to traffic allowing families to walk, bike, and play in downtown. The event will be FREE with dozens of games and activities.

Date: Saturday July 19, 2014
Time: 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Place: 100 South between 450 West and 300 West

Features of the event include:

  • FREE School Carnival-Style Games (Example: Ring Toss)
  • FREE Popcorn & Cotton Candy
  • FREE Prizes, Toys, and Activities
  • FREE Breakfast Pastries (9:30 to 11:30 or until the food runs out!)
  • FREE Contests (Example: Pie Eating Contest)
  • FREE WALK: Streets will be often for you to stroll, ride your bike, or push a stroller.
  • FREE RELAX: We’ll turn parts of center street into a mini-park complete with grass and benches where mom & dad can relax.
  • EAT: We’ll have plenty of options.

University Ave. Guerrilla Urbanism Demonstrates Possibilities & Potential

Early this morning, Provo guerrilla urbanists descended on University Ave. to temporarily transform a block and help BRT decision-makers imagine what-could-be.

The group measured out the currently proposed BRT street plan, and placed flags where the new sidewalk will end. Flags were also used to demonstrate how bulb outs could potentially improve visibility and create safer intersections.

A colored shared-use lane was created with chalk near the side of the road. Currently, the large shoulder allows bicyclists and motorists to easily share the available space. However, the new plan will eliminate the large shoulder and push bicyclists into the lane. Bicycle lanes are not considered politically feasible for the entirety of University Ave. since they would eliminate parking – however, a colored shared-use lane (such as those used in Salt Lake) would be an effective way of promoting safety for those in cars and on bikes.

Potted flowers and trees were brought in to encourage the preservation of as many mature trees as possible and the use of green space throughout University Ave.

Businesses along the block participated by coming outside and having a more prominent on-street presence, creating a visual incentive for pedestrians to interact and enter storefronts. Signs, flags, and free samples enticed passerbys.

 

Zero Proof Mocktails set up an on-street gathering place with free (and delicious) drinks while conversations took place.

Meanwhile, around the corner, the use of inviting tables, umbrellas, and a mock bistro was so welcoming that people passing through the neighborhood naturally starting congregating and asking questions about the project.

In the end, the project hopefully gave decision-makers and Provo residents the chance to re-imagine what University Ave. might become.

The truth is that the BRT road construction process (like all major construction) is not going to be pleasant. People are going to get annoyed with the noise, the roadwork, and concerns about any potential changes. However, now is the time to make a thoroughfare that Provo can be proud of – a street that is bustling with business and inviting to all road users.

Rarely does a city have the opportunity (and the funding) to re-design a major street into a national example and a go-to destination. Provo has that opportunity right now…let’s encourage decision-makers to step outside of the status quo and take the lead on transforming University Ave.

A huge thanks to Bill Graff, Susan Krueger-Barber, and Aaron Skabelund – the dedicated urbanists that led out on this project.

Come See a Piece of Guerrilla Urbanism That Re-Imagines University Ave.

Bus Rapid Transit is coming to University Avenue soon. The change represents what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-imagine University Ave. as a street. What could it look like? Rather than a speedy route for cars to get through the city could it become a Complete Street that encourages pedestrians and bicyclists while promoting local businesses?

Come see what could be possible in a guerrilla urbanism display tomorrow, July 16th from 9-10 a.m. on University Ave between 200 N. and 300 N.

Here’s what the organizing committee has to say about the project and the possibilities:

The construction of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on University Avenue with its dedicated lanes running down the middle of the street represents a HUGE once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the downtown blocks into a more livable, pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly, AND business-friendly streetscape from the current unappealing loud automobile thoroughfare. Who wants to spend time in the downtown University area when cars–and oftentimes semis–are noisily hurtling by much faster than the posted 35 mph speed limit?

To witness–and participate in–a vision of the downtown University core as a street that is complete and better for everyone–business owners, customers, pedestrians, bicyclists, the increasing number of downtown residents–please drop by University Avenue between 300 N and 200 N this Wednesday between 9 and 10 am. You will see an act of guerrilla urbanism performed by a broad cross-section of concerned citizens of local business owners, property owners, local residents, pedestrians, and bicyclists that (re)imagines the University downtown area as a destination that is inviting, interesting, and people want to be rather than the noisy, fast traffic automobile corridor it is now.

Specifically we hope to accomplish the following through this “performance piece”:

  • To persuade UDOT to slow down vehicular traffic to at the most 25 mph in the core of the downtown from at least 300 South to 500 North.
  • To use good design, not (just) speed limit signs, to calm traffic by creating a more visually narrow and interesting streetscape by:
  • Saving and planting as many trees as possible and increasing greenery
  • NOT adding righthand turn lanes and eliminating them wherever possible to calm traffic
  • Adding bulb-outs wherever possible to make pedestrian crossings safer
  • Turning the outside travel lanes into enhanced shared auto-bike lanes by painting the lanes green or blue and marking them with bicyclist icons
  • Stringently enforcing the current but largely unenforced restrictions on semi-trucks using University Avenue
  • Installing signals that give pedestrians plenty of time to cross University
  • Building safety islands at all pedestrian crossings

Bill Graff
Chair, Provo Walkability Committee

Susan Kruger-Barber
Co-chair, Joaquin Improvement Association

Aaron Skabelund
Chair, Provo Bicycle Committee

Picture from the Deseret News…if Salt Lake can have green shared lanes, why can’t Provo?