In the November elections, Utah County residents will get to decide if they want to support a sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The .25 of a cent (that’s a quarter of one cent, not twenty five cents) tax can be used for active transportation projects including bicycle infrastructure.
The county is currently asking for your feedback on what needs you would like to see prioritized should the tax pass.
Not sure? One big problem were having in Provo is a lack of pedestrian and bicycle access to the FrontRunner station. Union Pacific trains block access over multiple intersections, sometimes for up to an hour. That means that people trying to get to the FrontRunner station using any method other than a car are marooned as they watch their FrontRunner trains pull into the station and leave without them.
Anyone that uses the train regularly can attest that pedestrians and bicyclists will often climb the Union Pacific trains, jumping onto the tracks to the South, just so they can make it to the station. Kids jump trains on their way to school, bicycle commuters hoist their bikes over, business women are climbing trains in their heels. Obviously, this is not a good idea and is likely to get someone killed.
But, the current situation regularly forces people to either arrive by car or be an hour or more late to work / school.
Let me tell you a story. About six years ago, a group of Provo neighbors and bicyclists got together. They wanted to a safe way to ride to downtown restaurants and retail. They wanted a north-south connection that brought them to the places they actually wanted to go. They wanted bicycle lanes on University Ave.
But, the state wouldn’t sign off the Provo Bicycle Plan if they had to commit to something they felt was premature. So, to avoid killing the plan altogether, the lanes were left out. And, for a while, hope was kind of lost.
Folks, at today’s TMAC (Transportation and Mobility Advisory Committee), they gave us a sneak-peak of the new plan for University Ave. Guess what was four feet wide and off to each side of the street: beautiful, downtown bike lanes.
Now, keep in mind that this is just a preliminary mock-up. The final decisions haven’t been made. But, these bike lanes are a game changer. Here’s why:
– Bike lanes will make the street safer for car drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Without bike lanes, bicyclists would have to end up taking up a lane in the road. It’s not legal for drivers to pass a cyclist if they don’t have a clearance of 3-feet or more. And, since the speed limit is 35 MPH, if you were driving you may have been stuck behind a cyclist who had nowhere else to ride. Similarly, cyclists with a bit more anxiety would have ended up on the sidewalk…not the best place when it’s full of pedestrians. Especially as downtown becomes more of a destination.
– These lanes will be a game-changer for connectivity throughout the city. They’ll connect BYU with downtown Provo. They’ll connect the new lanes on Bulldog Blvd. and 300 South to University Ave. They’ll connect riders with the FrontRunner and the river trail. We don’t need bike lanes on lots of residential streets that are already safe to ride. We need them on streets that take people where they want to go. This does exactly that.
– We often kvetch about how great it would be if students ditched their cars. But, we didn’t back up our whining by providing them with the infrastructure that would make that possible. Now that they’ll have fast and reliable bus systems, the FrontRunner, AND a connected network of bike lanes taking them through the city, it will be much more reasonable to get around without a car.
– If we keep heading this direction and do it right, University Ave. is going to put Provo on the map. Talk about something we can be proud of: a real complete street that balances the needs of drivers, pedestrians, public transportation, and bicyclists in a way that makes sense, is aesthetically pleasing, and creates a sense of place.
Seriously, way to go Provo. Huge thank yous to everyone who took the time to listen and come up with a plan like this: the planning committees, Provo engineering, the TMAC, UDOT and UTA, the council, Mayor Curtis, our fantastic new Bike Czar Gary, Phil the map-maker whose long-term vision created something for Provo to work with, and (of course) Bike Committee chairs Zac Whitmore and Aaron Skabelund who pushed us to keep advocating for big goals even when we were completely exhausted. Thank you, thank you.
I’m so proud of our community for coming together for something like this.
Don’t miss the 2015 Bike-to-School Week, September 8-11th.
Check with your school to see how they are participating.
Through the Bike-to-School Challenge, students who bike to school will be entered to win daily prizes and a grand prize at the end of the week at each participating school. Prizes are generously donated by Provo’s bike shops – Krueg’s, Canyon Bicycles, Racers, Mad Dog, Taylors, Outdoors Unlimited, and the Provo Bicycle Collective.
Help your school win the Rad Riders Award! The School with the most bicycles during the week will win an awesome award.
The Federal Highway Administration recently released a game-changing document addressing some common misconceptions and / or excuses that keep communities from building bike infrastructure. Here are a few of the myths I found most interesting:
Myth: The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) is the only Federal funding source for pedestrian and bicycle projects.
Myth: Federal transportation funds cannot be used to enhance the local roadway network.
Myth: Separated bike lanes cannot be built with Federal funds.
Myth: Federal funds can’t be used for road diets.
Myth: The only design standard that can be used on Federal-aid highway projects is the AASHTO A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (Green Book).
Myth: Lane widths cannot drop below 11′ on the NHS and 9′ when Federal funds are used on local roads.
Myth: Curb extensions, trees, and roundabouts cannot be used on the NHS.
Myth: Bicycle and pedestrian projects must be within the existing Right of Way (ROW) to be eligible for a Categorical Exclusion.
Take a look at this visionary design coming to Bulldog Boulevard. We’ve been asking for this kind of design on Provo streets for years, and it’s finally happening.
Provo’s first protected bike lanes. Beautiful tree-lined median. Design that’s safer for everyone: people in cars, people in bikes, people on the sidewalk. There’s still a while to go in terms of getting public feedback and nailing down the minor design details. But, the design was approved unanimously by Provo’s Transportation and Mobility Committee. It’s happening, folks.
One of the very best ways to celebrate the 4th of July in Provo is by bicycle! Here are a few things you’ll need to know to get the most out of your patriotic holiday while on two wheels instead of four. (Details and times on the included links).
Friday, July 3rd – Bike Valet at the Rooftop Concert
Head over to the Moth & the Flame Concert by bike this weekend…free music, free t-shirts, free bike valet, and lots of fun.
We had more cyclists park their bikes with the Rooftop Concert bike valet than EVER at the last show! Thanks to Mad Dog Cycles and the Provo Bicycle Collective for all they do to make it easy and safe for you to ride over from within town or leave your bikes after bringing them down from SLC on the FrontRunner.
The air is gnarly this week and Downtown Provo will be super busy on Friday. No better way to make your way down here than on two wheels. Mad Dog will be hosting FREE valet service AND Safety Checks for your bikes. Skip the traffic, this is absolutely the best way to get to and from the concert.
Friday, July 3rd – Patriotic Night Ride
As if this night of revelry couldn’t get more exciting, join in on the annual July 3rd Glow-in-the-Dark Ride. Every year, dozens of brightly lit cyclists ride around the parade route enjoying the spectacle and delighting the crowds. It’s not to be missed.
Saturday, July 4th – Grand Parade
You’ll definitely want to come to Provo’s Grand Parade on Saturday morning. Bikes are your best way to beat the crowded traffic.
Plus, for the first time every, our mayor will be riding a bike in the parade. He’s also invited a few members of the Provo Bicycle Committee to ride along. So expect to see penny farthings, high wheelers, tandem trikes, bucket bikes, and more.
Getting Around & Decorating
Remember, traffic isn’t going to be so fun this holiday. But, bikes will be. Consider picking up some red, ride, and blue streamers from the dollar store and ride in style. Happy Independence Day!
Take a look at the recent changes to 400 East, between Center Street and 300 South.
Top: Neighborhood residents were concerned about potential traffic issues on their wide street, particularly due to a lighted intersection will be added on 300 South next year. Bottom: city engineers transformed the street yesterday almost entirely with paint. Bike lanes, cross walks, zebra stopping, school zone notices, and still room for parking.
What was the hottest ticket last month in Provo? It may have been the Mobile Active Transportation Tour (MATT), an introduction of Provo’s active transportation routes for city elected officials, transportation and planning administrator, and bicycle advocates. Though attendance was capped at 40 participants, over 50 riders from up and down the Wasatch Front joined the tour on May 20th, one of five MATTs this year held in the state which are coordinated by Bike Utah, Mountainland Association of Governments, the National Park Service, UTA, and the Wasatch Front Regional Council.
On a beautiful morning on one of the few days it did not rain in May, participants arrived by train at the Provo Frontrunner Station where they were greeted by Gary McGinn, Provo’s director of Community Development who under the mayor’s direction is coordinating the implementation of the Provo Bicycle Master Plan. Due to the many participants, cyclists broke into two groups for the ride. On Center Street, Bill Peperone told the group about the tremendous transformation of the downtown and how the city is working to make it more bicycle and pedestrian friendly. On 200 East, engineer Brad Jorgensen talked about plans for the street to become a Neighborhood Greenway and the groups saw 16 sharrow (shared lane) signs that neighborhood activists had painted on the street earlier that week in preparation for the Complete the Street 200 East block party. One city engineer from the Salt Lake Valley remarked that he loved such community involvement and interest in making streets complete.
At BYU, the group learned from Bob Ross about the administration’s ongoing efforts to make campus more accommodating and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. MAG’s Jim Price showed them the College Connector Trail, and Doug Robins of Parks met the group on the Provo River Trail as the traveled parallel to University Avenue and reported that Parks would intends to upgrade that trail to the “Murdoch Canal-standard.” That was a nice segue to the transition to that trail as the group entered Orem, and concluded the ride at MAG’s office on 800 North where they participated in an Active Transportation committee meeting. The tour highlighted Provo’s completion of, plans for, and process of integrating biking and walking with transit (most importantly BRT), housing, shopping, employment, and recreation destinations.
Thanks to Provo City and BYU (and Outdoors Unlimited which provided a few bikes for participants who were not able to bring one along), which were assisted by the Provo Bicycle Committee in hosting the event.
[EDIT: The party is being postponed until Monday. Please check the event for updates. From the event page: “The rain is letting up but it’s not clear enough for the sound equipment. We’re postponing to Monday and keeping our fingers crossed for good weather, but anyone can head over and see our parklets and the traffic calming measures that have been set up already. We apologize for any confusion!” They worked like crazy to set it up and it’s definitely worth checking out what is already there, even if the weather doesn’t allow for a party tonight.]
You might notice that 200 E. looks a little different on Saturday, June 6th. This is a part of a neighborhood project to model a complete street – a shared community space for everyone. That means making the street friendly and safe for neighborhood residents, pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, and anyone else that might be using the streets.
Making these temporary changes to a street is called Tactical Urbanism. Tactical Urbanism can be any small, inexpensive, short-term action designed to start a conversation and engage neighbors in thinking about what they want their street to look like. Most importantly…
Tactical Urbanism Requires a Good Imagination!
Keep in mind that what you’re seeing is just a mock-up of how permanent street changes might look. See beyond temporary items like chalk lines and cones to imagine how the space could look in the future.
Here are a few things to look for as you tour the street during Saturday night’s Neighborhood Greenway Party:
Neighborhood Greenways, also known as Complete Streets, are designed to enable safe access for everyone, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Neighborhood Greenways make it easy to cross the street; walk to campus; and bicycle to downtown, the new temple, and the Frontrunner Station.
Curb extensions, sometimes referred to as bulbouts, increase the overall visibility of pedestrians by aligning them with the parking lane and reducing crossing distances. They also serve as a visual cue to drivers that they are entering a neighborhood street or area.
Parklets are converted curbside parking spaces that create vibrant community spaces. Parklets incorporate seating, greenery, and accommodate unmet demand for usable public space.
Shared Lane Markings or “sharrows” are markings used to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles. Among other benefits, shared lane markings reinforce the legitimacy of bicycle traffic on the street and recommend proper bicyclist street positioning.
Bring your imagination to the Neighborhood Greenway Party and imagine the future of safer, more people-friendly Provo streets. There will be live entertainment, food trucks, a scavenger hunt, and a chance to win lots of awesome prizes (including pieces from local artists and Disneyland tickets)! See you there!
All month long, Provo residents, employees, and students recorded their daily/weekly miles ridden on nationalbikechallenge.org. Because of everyone’s commitment and determination to get out and ride their bikes during the month of May (whether for recreation or transportation) Provo City was ranked 8th on the National Leader Board!
We rode a total of 17,546 miles, burned 951,090 calories, and saved 7,793 lbs of Co2 in the month of May. Go Provo!
Congrats to everyone, especially the winners below: