ACTION ALERT: Provo Open House for UTA Input: Let’s Talk About That Frontrunner Bike / Ped Overpass

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Now is your last chance to weigh in on how you’d like to see UTA use transportation funds in Prop 1 passes in the November election.

We’ve talked about the UTA survey before. If Prop 1 passes this November, shoppers will be paying one cent on this .25 of a cent (that’s a quarter of one cent, not twenty five cents) that may be used for active transportation projects including bicycle infrastructure.

There will be an open house for you to share your thoughts this week:

UTA OPEN HOUSE

Wednesday, Oct. 7, 6 to 9 p.m.  at the Provo City Library, 550 N. University Ave., Provo

OR

Thursday, Oct. 8, 4 to 6:30 p.m. at Provo Station, 690 S. University Ave., Provo

How should the money be spent? We’ve talked about this in a previous post, but I thought I’d bring up the idea here too. One project that almost everyone can agree with is a pedestrian / bicycle overpass connecting the city to the FrontRunner Station (and eliminating the need for dozens of people to jump over the Union Pacific trains on an almost daily basis).

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.

Please come to the meeting and share your thoughts! The more people that talk to UTA about this problem, the more likely we’ll end up with a timely solution.

ACTION ALERT: How Should Potential UTA Funds Be Spent? Please Take This UTA Survey

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. Local-Option-Graphic-b-1024x652

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.

The more people that talk to UTA about this problem, the more likely we’ll end up with a timely solution. Please take the survey here and share it with your friends.

What Happened to 200 East: Your Guide to This Weekend’s Tactical Urbanism Experiment

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[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

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.17.35 PMBulbouts

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.17.45 PMParklets

Parklets are converted curbside parking spaces that create vibrant community spaces. Parklets incorporate seating, greenery, and accommodate unmet demand for usable public space.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.17.52 PMSharrows

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.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.18.01 PMBring 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!

Help Shape the Future of Utah: Take the Envision Utah Survey

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Does your vision of Utah’s future include car-reliant suburbs or bikable, walkable communities? Do you favor policies that help improve the quality of our air?

By 2050 Utah’s population will nearly double. Governor Herbert asked Envision Utah to work with hundreds of experts to create a survey about the most pressing issues facing our residents. The results of the survey will lead to a vision for Utah’s future. That vision will be used by policymakers, local governments, businesses, developers, and the public to make sure we all know how to shape the Utah we all want in 2050.

Please let your voice be heard by taking the survey here before May 30th.

Action Alert: Ask for University Ave. Bike Lanes TODAY

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The comment period for the Provo-Orem Bus Rapid Transit Environmental Assessment is over today.

Please take a look at what the project proposes and email your comments to the project team: provo-oremrapidtrans@hwlochner.com.

This is our last chance to comment in favor of features like bike lanes (or at least sharrows) on University Ave, HAWK signals for pedestrians, improving the University Parkway multi-use trail, etc.

Need some help generating ideas? Take a look at what I sent the project team below:

Hello,

In response to the BRT environmental assessment document, I would like to request the following:

– Please consider bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure throughout the project.

– Bicycle lanes on University Ave. would connect students to downtown and to the FrontRunner. This would make University Ave. a national example of a Complete Street and would put our city on the map as far as being transit-oriented, walkable, and bikable. Bike lanes are possible by removing only a few parking spaces. Realize that people riding bicycles are currently able to take advantage of a wide shoulder. When the shoulder is eliminated, bikes will be pushed out into traffic. If bike lanes are absolutely impossible, please ensure that there are bike sharrows and “Share the Road” signage to encourage safety.

– At many non-signalized crossings, pedestrians find crossing the street particularly dangerous. Please consider adding HAWK crossings at all non-signalized crosswalks along the route.

– The multi-use path on University Parkway is a good example of the type of infrastructure choices we need to offer residents. Please make sure that the path is not compromised by the expansion of the road. Where possible, please take into account measures to improve the path’s safety and lighting.

Overall, I believe the BRT project will be a major improvement to our community. Thank you for your dedication to this cause.

Sincerely,
Jamie Littlefield

Action Alert: UTA Wants to Know Where We Want New Bike Lanes and Lockers

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This year, the Utah Transportation Authority wants to put in new bike lanes and lockers in places that connect to FrontRunner or Trax stops. Please let them know where you’d like to see these lanes and lockers by making a comment on their one-question survey. If you’d like, you can also add photos or mark locations on their map.

Provo’s FrontRunner station, in particular, could use some additional bicycle connectivity. For example:

– 600 South (the street to the North of FrontRunner) feels particularly dangerous as cyclists and pedestrians approach the station. Although there seems to be a lot of excess gravel and weeds on the side of the road, there is essentially no shoulder and no sidewalk.

– Additionally, the overpass bridge on University Ave. is extremely dangerous to cyclists and has such narrow sidewalks that two pedestrians can’t even cross each other without one stepping into oncoming traffic. Cyclists have very little shoulder to work with and the overpass is not designed in a way that encourages cars to anticipate cyclists on the road.

– Often, cyclists coming from downtown Provo miss their FrontRunner trains because they get stuck behind the flashing train crossing arm while other cargo or Amtrack trains cross (often sitting on the rails at the intersection ten minutes). Cyclists must choose whether or not to go all the way around and over the bridge to catch the train on University Ave. Many cyclists have reported waiting in front of the tracks for a significant period of time and watching as their trains leave without them.

Certainly, your experiences will give you additional ideas for Provo areas that need connectivity. Please help out our city by taking the survey as soon as possible and passing it along to your friends. Also, be sure to click on “Feedback” and hit the “Support This Suggestion” button below Provo suggestions you agree with. Let’s make sure Provo’s voice is heard.

Provo Bicycle Action Alert: Take This UDOT Bicycle Survey By Friday

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UDOT is taking Provo’s input on how to spend funds available for bicycle infrastructure and facilities in Utah Valley on state-owned roads. Please help them out (and help them see what Provo residents feel is important) by taking this online survey by Friday.

Please share this link with your family and friends…and fill it out yourself as soon as possible. Completing the survey is a quick way to make your voice heard and should only take 5-10 minutes.

Provo Action Alert: Help Get Bike Lane Markings on the South Portion of Canyon Road

By Aaron Skabelund, Provo Bicycle Committee Chair

This action alert is about bike lane markings on the south portion of Canyon Road and is specifically directed to all residents living in the Edgemont, Rock Canyon, North Timpview, Pleasant View, and Riverbottoms neighborhoods, which include or border Canyon Road. Others who use Canyon Road and/or concerned about creating an integrated bicycle network are encouraged to be involved as well.

This year, when the city repaved Canyon Road north of 4525 North (Foothill Drive), it painted in bicycle lanes from 4525 North all the way to University Avenue and recently officially designated them as bicycle lanes by painting in the pavement bicyclist markings as seen below (note the children walking to school).

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But last year, when the city repaved Canyon Road south of 4525 North to about 2825 North, it painted in bicycle lanes along this entire stretch and intended to officially designate them as bicycle lanes with the pavement bicyclist markings, but before it could do so, a few residents and at least one business complained directly or indirectly through their neighborhood chairs about the imminent loss of on-street parking. In the face of this opposition, the city understandably backed down and the street does not include the previously anticipated bicycle lane markings.

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In short, the periodic on-street parking of a few on a public road trumped the creation of a complete street that would have resulted in a safe corridor for bicyclists along this road that is widely used to commute to BYU and central Provo, to get to thee Provo River Trail and the canyon, and with bike lanes could be a safe and popular route for K-12 students riding to school and for families and others going for a ride the area.

Unfortunately, the bicycling community heard nothing about this until the city felt like it had no choice but to back down. It would make a huge difference–hopefully THE difference–if members of the bicycling community, especially those bicyclists who live in the neighborhoods that include or border Canyon Road, communicate to their neighborhood chairs (contact information below) and city council representatives for officially designated and marked bicycle lanes on the south portion of Canyon Road. Others who feel strongly should direct their comments to District One City Councilman, Gary Winterton (gwinterton@provo.org), and city wide council members, David Sewell (dsewell@provo.org) and Gary Garrett (gary@garygarret.org). Please send an email or call these folks. If we raise our voices passionately but respectfully and rationally, I am confident that by next summer the lanes will be all officially marked as bike lanes along Canyon Road.

Additionally, please keep riding on Canyon Road and make a point of patronizing businesses on that street on your bike and don’t be shy to mention that you did so when you are making your purchases (and thank them if they are providing bicycle parking or kindly request bicycle parking if it is lacking). Our actions should match our words and hopefully together they will make the difference.

This morning,  I went for a run up to take a few photos of the lanes at 4525 North (Foothill Boulevard) because I had not yet seen them first hand and only been told that they had been officially marked to the north. A mother  (Alison Parker) who was walking home from Canyon Crest noticed me taking the photos and asked me when the lanes south of 4525 North would be officially marked. She lives to the south of 4525 off Canyon Road and her children like to ride to school but she does not feel comfortable letting them do so unless they ride on the sidewalk because the lane, in her words, is “a pull-over lane” rather than an officially marked bicycle lane. During Bike to School Week at Canyon Crest in September, she let her kids ride in the lanes because she rode with them. If the lanes were officially marked, she feels that would be much safer for her kids than them riding on the sidewalk and risking getting hit by cars pulling in and out of driveways as has nearly happened. In short, this is a safety issue that needs to be remedied, as Engineering intended, as soon as possible.

If you are not sure what neighborhood you live in, please check these maps.

 

Edgemont Neighborhood Chair

Marian Monnahan

marian.monnahan@gmail.com

801-373-6054

 

Rock Canyon Neighborhood Chair

Maureen LaPray

4mlapray@gmail.com

801-375-5470

 

North Timpview Neighborhood Chair

Bonnie Morrow

bonniepr15@gmail.com

801-836-7793

 

Pleasant View Neighborhood Chair

Paul Evans

Mydna@byu.edu

801-226-4430

 

Riverbottoms

Ben Markham

Bsmarkham@gmail.com

801-374-3252

Action Alert: Tell US DOT That Every Bicyclist Counts

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The following action alert comes from the League of American Cyclists. Safety policies set at the national level have a major impact on what happens in Provo, particularly on roads and projects that receive federal and state funding.

There is only one acceptable number: 0.

Today, the League released a new report, which analyzes the bicyclist fatality tracking we undertook for a 12-month period. Over the course of the project we documented 628 fatal bike crashes, a high percentage of the official number of such fatalities recorded by federal authorities. The results are sobering, eye-opening, and critically helpful in informing the current debate about the need for a non-motorized traffic safety performance measure.

Your comments count: Tell US DOT that we can’t turn a blind eye to the 45,000 bicyclists injured and 5,000 cyclists and pedestrians killed on our roadways each year — we must have a national goal to make biking and walking a safe transportation option.

While cities like New York and San Francisco have set decisive “Vision Zero” targets to dramatically reduce bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities, the U.S. Department of Transportation has just released proposed safety measures that have no goal, no accountability and no attempt to reduce the 16% of all fatal crashes that include people who walk and bike.

In 2012, Congress asked the US DOT to set national goals to guide federal, state and local investments in our transportation system. After meeting with USDOT and FHWA officials, we knew they were unlikely to include a specific non-motorized performance measure – or goal to reduce bike/ped deaths. Unfortunately, on March 11 we were proved right: FHWA issued a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” that acknowledged our request – but chose not to include one.

Now, they’re asking for comments — and they need to hear from you. Please endorse the League’s comments or submit your own.

Our analysis: The overall safety performance measure lacks vision, accountability, and urgency. There is NO actual target set for reducing the number of people killed on our roads. States are asked to make “significant progress” towards two of four proposed measures, with a margin of error that could see fatality and injury numbers actually increase.

At a time when many local agencies are adopting a “Vision Zero” traffic safety target, and as bicycle and pedestrian fatalities are increasing as a percentage of overall traffic fatalities, we believe FHWA’s proposal is grossly inadequate – and sets a troubling precedent for subsequent national performance management measures on congestion and pavement condition.

We can’t allow our national safety standards to have Zero Vision — please send your comments on the safety performance measure to US DOT today.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/link/target/bikeleague/JbKF27Ec6.aspx

Bike Utah Alert: Sen. Hatch Attacks Bike Funding & Local Control

The following action alert comes from Phil Sarnoff, Bike Utah Executive Director. The League of American cyclists sent out a similar alert earlier today. If you are concerned about this threat to local control and loss of funding for bicycle infrastructure, please TAKE ACTION TODAY OR TOMORROW MORNING by calling Senator Hatch and leaving a message with your thoughts (202-224-5251)..

I know it can be scary to call (I usually take a deep breath and pace around a bit before hand…) but a personal phone call is the best way to reach our elected officials and create change. If you just can’t bring yourself to make the call (it’s okay, friend, I’ve been there too…), then please use this easy form to send an email.

Our quick response to national issues such as this has a direct impact on what we are able to accomplish for Provo.

Subject: Action Needed: Sen. Hatch Attacks Bike Funding & Local Control

Hello Members and Friends,

We need your action TODAY.

According to Capitol Hill news source Politico, in a Finance Committee hearing on the next transportation bill just yesterday, Senator Hatch “lamented that, over the years, the Highway Trust Fund has been used to pay for an increasing array of transportation choices beyond highways, including such things as bike paths.”

In his written statement, Sen. Hatch went even further to sarcastically refer to bike paths as “so-called ‘enhancements.'” His remarks aren’t just idle talk as California Senator Barbara Boxer responded with “Considering what Senator Hatch said – there are some things we think we can move away, and we came up with some good funds to do some interesting things.”

It is expected that this bill will come out on May 8th. With some a high level of certainty, Sen. Hatch has a desire to do away with the Transportation Alternatives Program, which funds many bicycle and pedestrian projects in Utah.

We don’t believe Senator Hatch is reflecting the needs and desires of Utah communities in seeking to do away with the flexibility that allows our communities to fund bicycling and walking projects as we see fit.

Let’s not let Senator Hatch destroy the programs that helped Utah communities become more bike-friendly.

Take action today: Tell Senator Hatch you disagree with his position on transportation alternatives and you believe state and local agencies should have the freedom to make transportation investments where they see fit.

Call Senator Hatch’s Office tonight or early tomorrow: 202-224-5251 If you are unable to get through then please leave a message.

Thank you for your support in this effort.
Sincerely,
Phil Sarnoff
Executive Director
BikeUtah.org