Impressions of the 2018 Utah Bike Summit

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