Imagine Riding the Provo River Trail to Deer Creek and Beyond: Imagine No Longer. This Will Soon be a Reality!

Besides funding for a pedestrian/bicycle bridge over the Union Pacific tracks at the Provo Frontrunner Station, the other major project related to Provo that the $20M Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant will help make possible is a 2.75 mile extension of Provo River Trail from Vivian Park to the Deer Creek Reservoir Trail. At the reservoir, the extension will connect to the Provo-Jordan River Parkway Trail that stretches around the west side of Deer Creek. Four million dollars (one-fifth of the total) of the grant is to be allocated to this project. The estimated cost of the trail is $4.6M. The expected completion date has not yet been determined.

This is what part of that area between Vivian Park and Deer Creek looks like now. From above, you can see the road, the railroad track, and the Provo River. Some roadies brave riding on the shoulder of US-189, but for less risk-adverse, more casual recreational bicyclists (and pedestrians), there is no safe route up Provo Canyon after Vivian Park.

This is what part of that area between Vivian Park and Deer Creek looks like now. From above, you can see the road, the railroad track, and the Provo River. Some roadies brave riding on the shoulder of US-189, but for less risk-adverse, more casual recreational bicyclists (and pedestrians), there is no safe route up Provo Canyon after Vivian Park.

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This is what the area looks like from the ground.

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This is the view that most folks, including people on bicyclists, are most acquainted. It is the end the line. Here the immensely popular Provo River Trail, a 15-mile multi-use pathway starting at Utah Lake, dead ends at the start of the Heber Valley Historical Railway at Vivian Park.

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Here is a map of the new trail as it will extend from Vivian Park to Deer Creek along “Heber Creeper” railway line. This project is made possible thanks to railway company opening up its right-of-way for the trail.

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Here is an example of a rock and landscape separation between a trail and railroad.

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And once you get to Deer Creek, bicyclists will be able to continue around the west side of the reservoir to Stringtown Road in Heber City, not far from Soldier Hollow.

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Happy riding ahead! Please keep watching bikeprovo.org for updates as this project moves forward.

2016 Canyon Bicycles’ Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award

Stan-in-winterFor the last five years, the Provo Bicycle Committee has recognized a dedicated bicycle commuter with Golden Spoke Award at the annual Mayor’s Bike to Work Day in May. Starting last year, to remind folks that we can commute to work and school by bicycle all year round, even in the dead of winter, the Committee inaugurated the Golden Spoke Winter Bicycle Commuter Award, and Canyon Bicycles has kindly acted as the sponsor for the winter award.

Last year, the committee recognized Lexi Williamson, a BYU student who lives on the west side and commutes to campus year round by bicycle.

This year, we would again like to recognize another west-sider. To introduce his story take a look at this short clip from KSL news that was broadcast last April.

In the report, Stan says “I have fallen in love with bike riding. I ride a lot—good weather, bad weather.” You may have also noticed him wearing Adobe bike shorts.

His wife Becky shared with us the following:

“When he made the goal to lose 100 pounds, he was already in the habit of using Frontrunner to get to work at Adobe, but he started riding his bike to get to the Orem train station and then from the Lehi station up the hill to the Adobe building. At first he biked two or three times a week but before long it was every day. He didn’t commute that first winter but he has ever since. He’s pretty stubborn about riding regardless of the weather.

At first he always rode to the Orem station but after several months changed to the Provo station. It’s a little bit farther and but it’s a safer route because going to Orem he would be on Geneva Road. [BTW, the two roads Stan would like Provo to make safer for bicyclists are Geneva and 900 East.] At first he used the Lehi station exclusively but now he usually rides to the American Fork station at the end of his workday, just to get more miles in (and to lose more weight.) Through most of the summer, he would ride from Lehi all the way home (26 miles) every Friday. In 2015, Stan rode just shy of 7000 miles, both through commuting and recreationally.”

Becky continued by writing, “Adobe pays for their employee’s Frontrunner passes. This made all the difference in his decision to ride his bike to work. Otherwise, it would have been rather expensive, and it’s hard to say if he would’ve developed the habit of using Frontunner. Adobe’s commuter check program–the biking incentive program–pays him $20 per month which is very nice. Stan says he would commute anyway, even without that incentive, because he likes it. I think though, that this commuter check program has had an indirect effect as well: Adobe has a cycling community and that it makes a difference when you have buddies at work that you share bike riding stories with.

In conclusion, Becky wrote, “It is probably not exaggerating to say that bicycle commuting has saved Stan’s life. Losing weight has increased the quality of his life immeasurably. The key to his successful weight loss has been consistency, and that consistency has been facilitated by combining his exercise with his commute to work. He’s in the best shape of his adult life. He loves to get out in the fresh air every single day”—even in the dead of winter.

Congratulations to Stan Paulson, the recipient of the 2016 Canyon Bicycles’ Golden Spoke Winter Commuter Award! I hope Provo residents will emulate Stan, and employers—including Provo City—will emulate Adobe by offering their employees incentives to use active transportation and improve their health and lives. It is a pleasure to present this award to Stan today, which happens to his and Becky’s 25th wedding anniversary. Congratulations!

Check out more about Stan from the Adobe blog.

Provo’s First Protected Bike Lanes Coming to Bulldog Blvd.

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HOLY SMOKES!

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.

Check out the Mayor’s blog for details. And please, take a couple minutes to leave a comment of support.

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This Tuesday: Help Save Our County Transportation System

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If you’re in favor of complete streets (roads that are friendly to bicycles, pedestrians, cars, and transit), please help out by coming to the Utah County Commission meeting tomorrow and speaking in support of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Provo and Orem. This project has been years in the making and will be the backbone for more reliable, connected public transportation throughout the entire county. But, the project is at risk due to a few vocal and last-minute opponents.

When: Tuesday, May 12th. 9:00 a.m. Ride with the mayor and pick up some sweet swag at Provo’s Bike-to-Work Day and then head over to the meeting. (I know, who schedules meetings at that time? But we really do need your voice!)

Where: Commission Chambers located in room 1400 of the Utah County Administration Building (100 East Center Street, Provo)

What: Please stand up during public hearing (first item on the agenda) and let the county commission know that you support complete streets – including the BRT system in our county. Just a short statement will go a long way. Also, please share this with your friends and family whether or not you can make it. The more voices we have, the better.

If you’d like to learn more, take a look at this write-up about having vision from Mayor John Curtis or today’s letter in the Herald from Bruce Hall.

Speaking up can feel a little scary, but your voice is needed. Keep in mind that the people at the meeting are just your fellow neighbors and you’ll be surrounded by a community that cares about transportation issues just as much as you do. What better way to celebrate bike month than to advocate for complete streets?

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.

University Ave. Guerrilla Urbanism Demonstrates Possibilities & Potential

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Slate Canyon: A Park for Bicyclists of All Ages and Skill-Levels

bike skills 1by Aaron Skabelund, Chair of the Provo Bicycle Committee

Have you heard that Provo is building a bike-skills park this year in the new Slate Canyon Park? The park will be a hit for bicyclists of all generations and abilities. Located on the west-facing bench, its trails will be usually dry and rideable throughout the year thanks to ample sun. The park will be a boon for the surrounding neighborhoods and all of Provo, whose residents can easily access this wonderful amenity via the city’s expanding network of urban trails and bike lanes, and along the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Bicyclists looking for a bit of fun and a challenge will no longer need to drive all the way to Park City’s Trailside Park or Eagle Mountain Bike Park. It will now be just a short bike ride away.

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The Bike-Skills Park is part of Slate Canyon Park, located from the mouth of Slate Canyon down to and on both sides of Slate Canyon Drive on an expansive 63.9 acre site. The park plan created by Blu Line Design is divided into four different sites that will be developed over the next several years. The park will include grass play areas, tennis courts, picnic sites, a disk golf course, playgrounds, pavilions, restrooms, and of course Provo’s first dedicated park for bicycling. Continue reading

The Safety in Numbers Effect

The safety in numbers effect as it relates to cycling is that the more bicycles on the road the safer each cyclist is.  More info here.  This effect was recently seen clearly in a study of bike crashes in Minneapolis.  As more and more people commuted by bicycle, the ratio of bike crashes to bicycle commuters dropped.

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This is really encouraging information, because it means that one of the best ways to increase cyclist safety is to increase the amount of cyclists!  The more people riding their bikes the safer the roads will become!

 

Ride safe.

Bike to School!

Yet another reason to ride your bike! And perhaps more importantly another reason to get your kids to ride their bikes to school.  Read more in this very cool article.

I’m no expert, but studies like this seem like incentive enough for communities to make biking to school safe and as convenient as possible.

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And remember, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you should stop riding!