Every summer and fall, when Provo City Public Works performs work on roads, city engineers seek to implement recommendations for bicycle lanes called for by the Bicycle Master Plan, adopted by the city council in 2014. Although the bicycling community would like change to happen even faster and more dramatically, we are thankful to Engineering for the progress that the city is making in creating a truly integrated network of lanes and trails that residents can use for both bicycling—both recreation and utilitarian (riding to school, work, and to run errands).
At this month’s committee meeting, city traffic engineers officially—and compared to past years—belatedly announced this summer’s bike lane improvements. But it was worth the wait. Here are some of this year’s projects (some of which are well underway now):
– Bike lanes on 500 West from 300 South to the new Westside Connector at about 2000 South. (This one is huge! Finally residents of southwest Provo will have a safe option to ride into the city center.)
– Lanes on Indian Hills Drive/2780 North.
– Lanes on 900 West between Center Street and 500 North (another really important stretch).
In addition, Matt Parker, UDOT’s Region Three’s bicycle coordinator announced at the meeting that UDOT would be installing bike lanes on University Avenue from near the mouth of Provo Canyon all the way down to 700 North this fall.
We would also like to publicly—and yes, belatedly—thank Public Works for the improvements that were completed last year, in 2015. They included:
The addition of bike lanes on 2300 North and 1450 East near Rock Canyon
Looking east on 2300 North
Headed west on 2300 North (the Provo Temple is on the left)
At the intersection of 2300 North/1450 East and the road to the Rock Canyon parking lot
Facing the other direction near the intersection of 2300 North/1450 East and road to the Rock Canyon parking lot
Climbing south on 1450 East
Again, the view to the north on 1450 East
The extension of the lanes on 3700 North to the intersection at University Avenue (where Will’s Pit Stop is).
Looking toward 50 West and University Avenue on 3700 North (on an inversion day when more people besides the photographer need be bicycling)
The extension of the lanes on 620 North to Geneva Road eliminating a one to two block gap
Heading west on 620 North approaching Geneva Road
620 North and Geneva Road
A reconfiguration of the bike lanes (through the elimination of the center median and restoration of on-street parking) on Independence Avenue from Center Street to 820 West.
Independence Avenue headed south close to Center Street
Independence Avenue near 500 North
Independence Avenue near Freedom Prep Academy just south of 820 North
Again, a huge thank you to everyone in Provo who is working on making our streets safer for all road users. Get out and ride the new lanes (and check out the roads where we’ll be seeing even more lanes soon).
More than 30 communities worked together with regional transportation planning offices, UDOT, UTA local leaders to be chosen out of 585 other applications.
The exact plans aren’t finalized, but take a look at this awesome rendering of a Provo ped / bike bridge from the imaginations of Urban Design Associates working with the Giv Group.
No more climbing between freight trains to get to the Frontrunner station (dangerous!) or missing your commute. You guys showed up at UTA community meetings, talked to MAG reps at bicycle committee meetings, and sent a clear message with survey responses and emails. Thanks for speaking up, everyone!
If you haven’t visited the new Provo Bicycle Collective location in the Joaquin neighborhood, you just have to stop by.
They’ve taken over an abandoned corner building / former graffiti magnet and are turning it into something the neighborhood can be proud of.
You’ll find it at: 397 E. 200 N.
Well-organized tool benches, plenty of indoor bike parking, expert advice, and just about everything you need to spiffy-up your bicycle for the summer. You can even buy a used bike to help support the non-profit.
The new space is…dare I say… sort of magical.
Huge props to the herculean efforts of the Bicycle Collective staff for making this happen, to the Joaquin Neighborhood for their inspiring support, and to the Planning Commission & City Council for their willingness to catch the vision.
Tuesday night (June 7th), the Provo City Council will decide if the Provo Bicycle Collective is able to use this incredible space in the Joaquin neighborhood as their new headquarters. For many years, this space that was once a neighborhood grocery market has been an empty eyesore. The Planning Commission already gave unanimous consent… now a lot of big plans look like they’re about to be reality. You can help by showing up at the council meeting, voicing your support, and lending a hand with the move. Check out the details from Provo Bicycle Collective Director Austin Taylor below:
Everything You Need to Know about the Big Move:
It’s been a long time coming… We are so excited to move into this beautiful new building! Our new shop is located in a more bicycle-oriented neighborhood and about three times the size of our current location. So moving in would mean more space to work on your bikes, more people buying and receiving bikes and many more cyclists in Provo. Basically it will save the world.
Tomorrow is the day. The City Council Meeting starts at 5:30pm at 351w Center Street in Provo. We are item #11 on the agenda, and you never know how slowly or quickly decisions are made, so showing up at 6pm could be a safe bet.
We need as many of you as possible to raise your voice in support of this move! A supportive public means more likelihood of the zoning amendment required for us to set up shop.
IF (WHEN) THEY SAY YES
When they say yes, the landlord will give us the key on the spot and we will immediately turn volunteer night (tomorrow) into a huge semi-organized grassroots move.
WANT TO HELP?
BRING TRUCKS. BRING TRAILERS. BRING CARGO BIKES. Whatever you have that can transport large items will be greatly needed. We will be shuttling things from 49n 1100w to 397e 200n from 7pm to 10pm (normal volunteer night hours). I’m gonna see what kind of snacks I can get us.
Here’s something that should put a smile on your face: the Bulldog Boulevard project will be going through. The Regional Planning Committee just voted tonight to fund the project.
One of the most exciting aspects of the project is the protected bicycle lanes – the first in Provo! These lanes should help reduce the high number of bicycle / car collisions that are frequent through this corridor.
Funding is officially slated for 2019. However, it is possible that the project may begin sooner. Big thanks to the Regional Planning Committee, county commissioners, mayors, and (especially) our local engineering and planning professionals for their dedication on this visionary project.
Bring your bikes (and your kids trikes) to Memorial Park on May 28th for a celebration of cycling! We will be learning about bike safety, chalking up the street, bouncing in bounce houses, and giving away a Madsen bucket bike!
“Now that we’re back in Provo, I’ve begun using a Madsen cargo bike or ‘bucket bike’ to get our groceries. I’ve absolutely loved it. I think that if someone is going from a car to a bucket bike they might not be quite so impressed, but going from a stroller to a Madsen has been amazing. 🙂 I’ve even taken it up to Costco a few times. (The ride back along University Parkway has an amazing view of the valley, too!)”
Meet new family friends who share your love of cycling and start your weekend off with a celebration.
The Provo Bicycle Committee is pleased to announce the recipient of its fifth annual spring/summer Golden Spoke Award. The award is presented to someone who demonstrates a commitment to bicycling by doing something very logical—using a bicycle as an everyday tool to get around—to work, to school, to run errands, and perhaps for recreation. The award may also be presented to someone who has made a significant contribution to bicycling becoming more of a safe, pleasant, and common sense way to get around. It is called the Golden Spoke Award because each bicyclist and each bicycle advocate is like a spoke in a wheel that helps make Provo a more bicycle-friendly community and improves our collective quality of life. Each of us can advocate for bikes, more bike-friendly complete streets, bike lanes and trails, and most importantly each of us can bike wherever and whenever possible. Many of us take many trips that are about a mile or so, which can easily and pleasantly be completed on a bicycle.
This year’s recipient of the Golden Spoke Award is Susan Krueger-Barber of Joaquin Neighborhood, and by extension the members of the Complete the Street group from Joaquin and Maeser that organized a fantastic street party last June as a way to help people reimagine 200 East as a Neighborhood Greenway, a public space that accommodates and is safe for people on foot and on bike, and not just for those in cars. The 200 East Neighborhood Greenway will run from 600 South, north past the downtown, and end at 800 North at BYU. It will serve as safe and pleasant route for people to move between these neighborhoods, the Frontrunner Station, the downtown area, and BYU.
For example, there are many BYU employees who live north of Provo in northern Utah County and Salt Lake and regularly take Frontrunner to Provo but currently do not have a safe route to bicycle from the station to campus. For them, this Neighborhood Greenway is a dream come true. It will provide a safe route for them and others by discouraging through auto- traffic on 200 East, and give priority to bicyclists and pedestrian through traffic calming devices like bulb-outs, sharrows, and safe intersections, such as the one being built as part of the 300 South project. And on cold, wet days, these colleagues and other colleagues who are less enthusiastic about riding a bike look forward to having a frequent and quick transit option to get to and from campus with BRT in 2018.
Susan and her Joaquin neighbors understood this vision and working closely with Community Development and Public Works made some temporary changes to the street to help folks imagine how much better it could be.
Perhaps the best way of explaining what they did is to show you a video about the event:
Isn’t Susan’s enthusiasm infectious? She was the energy behind this project, and ably supported by Celeste Kennard, Sage Pearson, Chris Wiltsie, and dozens of others. Thanks to Mayor Curtis and members of the city council, including Chair Santiago for attending the party. We are planning to stage another act of city-sanctioned tactical urbanism on 500 North from Joaquin to Dixon in conjunction with Bike to School Week in September. We look forward to your support.
On April 5th, a half dozen Provo residents joined hundreds of other Utahns— everyday riders, bicycle and trail advocates, representatives from Utah’s bicycle industry, planners, engineers, representatives from Utah’s tourism industry and health fields, and local and state government officials—at the annual Utah Bike Summit held at Salt Palace. This year’s theme was Shifting into High Gear and focused on how to make Utah even more bicycle friendly. Here are the ideas that a few of them found the most interesting:
Austin Taylor, Joaquin Neighborhood
My biggest takeaway from the bike summit was the need to make cycling culture inclusive. Bicycle enthusiasts should not self-identify as “cyclists.” We’re normal people just like everyone else, we just happen to use cycling as our form of transport because it makes sense. If we reach out and make it easier to do what we do, more people will cycle with us.
Hugh Van Wagenen, Joaquin Neighborhood
Healthy Communities Through Active Transportation
Jordan Mathis of the Tri County Health Department gave a very insightful presentation about the correlation between people’s health and their modes of transportation. He began by pointing out what factors determine health status among individuals: medical care, human biology, environment, and lastly lifestyle. Lifestyle accounts for 50% of a person’s health status, which is the largest influencer of someone’s health. This is where active transportation, i.e. walking and biking, can play a major role in improving individual health in the United States. Walking and biking for daily transportation trips create an exercise routine that people don’t have to think about. But in order to increase active transportation trips, proper infrastructure must be built to protect vulnerable cyclists and pedestrians. “Remember, you are not only investing in infrastructure,” Mathis reminded the audience, “you are investing in human capital.”
Utah Department of Transportation
Shane Marshall of UDOT spoke about the culture change within the state’s transportation department. The DOT is now trying to actually be a department of transportation rather than a department of roads. Every project at UDOT is now considering active transportation improvements. Carolos Braceras, Director of UDOT, is really leading out on this change. UDOT, however, is a mighty large ship and it will take some time to fully bring her about. Mr. Marshall held a lengthy Q&A session where he was very open about UDOT’s policies. Personally, I think it is important to stay involved and influence UDOT as much as possible as they control major corridors through our communities. At the same time, our local jurisdictions probably have way more corridor miles that cyclists and pedestrians will be using. Influencing our local elected officials to make active transportation a priority will probably due far more to advance the cause than banging constantly on UDOT’s door.
Salt Lake City Projects
Staff members from Salt Lake City’s transportation department discussed several projects that have been recently implemented in the City. Among the most notable were the 300 South protected bike lanes, 200 West protected bike lanes, and protected intersection at 200 West 300 South. Salt Lake has done a ton of public outreach on these projects and collected a lot of data before and after construction. I had the chance to ride small sections of these projects and they rock. Hopefully, all the strides SLC has been making in the active transportation arena won’t come to a shrieking halt with the new administration. If you haven’t ridden these protected routes, jump on Frontrunner with your bike and check ‘em out.
Scott Shea, Franklin Neighborhood
The Utah Bike Summit really opened my eyes. I attended the breakout session, “Leveraging Bicycle Tourism in Utah.” The presentations sparked two realizations:
1) As a cyclist I realized the opportunity to take a cycle-cation, using my bike to travel around Utah and see some of the remote areas typically forgotten when using the freeways at 75 mph. These scenic locations are small towns with great personalities and lots to see and do. Cycle-cations can fit into any budget, either the shoe-string economy budget where you camp out in a local park with Top Ramen, to the credit card budget that includes a hotel room, hot shower, and going out to eat. I love to find little gems around Utah and biking through them would be an even bigger plus!
2) Provo has the potential to cater to touring bicyclists. We have all the amenities for all kinds of cyclists, including hotel rooms, camp grounds, restaurants, attractions, and a cycling culture. Provo can also be used as a hub for daily rides on a cycle-cation where visitorscan circle Utah Lake, climb Provo Canyon, or enjoy the Provo River Trail. We should work with the city and surrounding businesses to encourage cyclists to come visit Provo. We can utilize our Frontrunner station and invite everyone to come to the end of the line and go exploring!
Cycle-cations and increasing cycle tourism can also benefit Provo residents. We can benefit all cyclists by promoting the Bicycle Benefits program (http://www.bicyclebenefits.com/#/home). Local
business can offer discounts when you show up on your bike! Residents buy the $5 program helmet sticker at any of the participating businesses and then by showing your helmet at the business you get some determined discount. Salt Lake is actively participating in the
program, with grocery stores offering 10% off, restaurants offering free drinks, bicycle and other shops offering discounted services. We can capitalize on the bargain hunting nature of Utah County by promoting this program in our city which will encourage more bike riding in Provo. I know I would certainly ride my bike if it meant I got a discount!
Aaron Skabelund, Rivergrove Neighborhood
I appreciated the historical perspective that public health care expert Mathis took in his presentation. He argued that the United States puts far too much money into medical care rather than encouraging health lifestyles that would help prevent lifestyle diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. In 1900, the top three killers were communicable disease; now the top killers are chronic diseases that can be prevented through changes in lifestyle. Land use policies matter. Cities used form based zoning to separate residential areas from industrial areas. That was good in 1900, but is not good now. There is no reason for offices, stores to be entirely separated from residential areas. One of the legacies of such policies is that it has contributed to sprawl. Utah ranks second in the country in its rate of urban sprawl in the last ten years.
It is much for effective to address these challenges by creating organic opportunities that are built in people’s lives, like walking and bicycling to work, for people to be physically active rather than engineered exercise like a gym membership that people have to plan for and schedule into their lives. Utility cycling—using a bicycle to get to work and school and to run errands—Mathis concluded, can make a significant contribution to increased levels of physical activity and improving health.
During the QforA with UDOT’s Marshall, I asked him how we might persuade UDOT to narrow lane width to 10’ from 12’ and mentioned that on University and 300 South we were able to get them down to 11’. He said he was impressed that we were able to get UDOT regional officials to agree to 11’ and see that as a significant accomplishment.
The keynote speaker was urban designer and urban-mobility expert Mikeal Colville-Andersen, the founder and CEO of Copenhagenize Design Co. Team, which consults with cities on bicycle planning issues. He gave an extended and localized version of his fabulous TED talk, drawing on his experiences growing up in Calgary, living now in Copenhagen, and his observations of Utah. Here is a link to his TED talk and an interview with him the next day on KUER’s RadioWest. Definitely worth a listen!