Provo City and BikeWalk Provo Conduct Bike and Walk Count

Awkward stalker photo from another community’s bike/ped count

In early September, Provo City joined other communities around the US to count people biking and walking as part of the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. The goal of the project is to provide estimates of people biking and walking in a certain area as well as track changes over time.

We hope to work with Provo City on this next year (and the year after, and the year after…) and see an increase in the number of people biking and walking as our community builds more compact, mixed-use development as well as quality bike infrastructure.

If you’re a data nerd, you’re going to love this data.

Comments on 2019 Move Utah Summit

UDOT’s Move Utah program hosts an annual summit to talk about getting more people walking and biking. This year we asked Scott Shea–former Provo resident–to share his thoughts about the event. Check out his thoughts below:

“What would you put in the community of your dreams?  Would it be safe, clean, friendly, and active? Ultimately, ideal communities have the best Quality of Life. Most people consider the method we use to get from point A to point B just a means a method, but if you ask what the Sweden Transportation department does for work they respond – “Travel agency.”  Great communities focus more on the journey and the experience of moving through their community.  

One example of how we are improving the journey: We reached the 1 yr. anniversary of UVX bus rapid transit. Utah Valley University reported selling 1,200 fewer parking passes this year than the year before – freeing up a ton of land to be devoted to something better than parking stalls! UVU can improve the quality of life experience on campus by devoting less time, money and effort to parking, and more of it to students!

Utah is no longer trying to move vehicles – they are trying to move people. 

To do that, they have 4 goals: 

1.       Good health

2.       Strong economy

3.       Better mobility

4.       Connected communities

When considering transportation improvement projects, UDOT weighs the project against these 4 goals, and ultimately ask “Is the project contributing to the quality of life?” One giant improvement that Utah legislation is doing in SB-34, is allocating funds for transportation improvement projects that can be directly applied to active transportation projects.  No longer does a bike lane need to tag along on a roadway project!

Several speakers and many breakout sessions focused on these 4 goals, and how to build better communities using infrastructure to improve quality of life. We can look forward to many more active transportation improvement projects! Our goal now should be to show how people are using these projects to improve their Quality of Life.”

A New Vision for 300 West and How You Can Help

We have a vision for a new 300 West: a low-stress bicycle boulevard that connects people on bike and foot with UTA’s Provo Central station, Amtrak, Franklin neighborhood, Provo City Hall, downtown, Timp neighborhood, Provo Rec Center, IHC’s Utah Valley Hospital, Provo River Trail, and so much more.

To bring it about, we will be making temporary changes to the street to show Provo City and its residents how safe and friendly this street can be. This is called tactical urbanism.

But we can’t do any of this without your help. Here’s what you can do:


1. Design the artwork to be painted on the street. Winners are eligible for lots of prizes from local bike shops. Learn more about needed art and submit your ideas here: http://www.bikeprovo.org/open-call-for-urban-art-help-design-the-300-w-neighorhood-bikeway-tactical-urbanism-project/


2. Volunteer or donate money. We need all the help we can get painting the street and paying for supplies. If you intend to volunteer, please indicate on this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd4t12Iu8OHCbHjVqrXxheWIQWh9XTeC8BXivHYgGKSj9TkFQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

The project will begin at 8pm on Friday, July 26 and we will paint through the night. Please attend and invite your friends! Together we can demonstrate a low-speed bikeway that safely connects people on bike and foot to major destinations and show the city how good it can be. Join us!

Funding Safe Street Design

According to US Census Bureau, about 15% of all trips to work and school in Provo are done on foot or on bike–the highest percentage in the state by far (the average is 4%). However, our streets are designed primarily for the rapid flow of motor vehicles. Provo needs safe streets designed for people–adults and children, including those with disabilities–walking, biking, and rolling to their destinations.

Our ask is simple–that $100,000 of Provo City’s streets budget be dedicated to small street design changes that make it safer to bike and walk. With the new quarter-cent sales tax increase going to transportation, that will be less than 3% of the current streets budget. 

These projects will literally save lives. After 14-year old Caleb Lane was killed walking to the Rec Center, Provo City installed a safe crosswalk that cost about $50,000. $100,000 will allow Provo to do two similar projects per year, this time beforetragedies happen.

Please sign this petition to add your name in support.

The Decision to Fund Bulldog Boulevard Improvements is Down to the Wire!

A month or two ago, we told you about the major improvements that were being planned for Bulldog Boulevard. These improvements would dramatically improve safety for a road that is seven times more deadly than average, beautify this ugly street, and, as council member Dave Sewell put it, save lives. However, those improvements may not happen without your voice.

Sadly, many residents intend to keep this street the high-speed, wide-open road is now is. This would maintain the high level of traffic crashes–more than seven times the state average–and continue to discourage cycling. These people have already blasted the city council with messaging in opposition of the project. What do they oppose? An increased car travel time of only four seconds in one direction and forty seconds in the other during peak traffic hours. That’s a small price to pay for safety.

Because of that opposition, the council is split on the decision to fund the project. Currently, three of the seven council members are opposed to the project and one is still undecided. This is too close to call.

We need your voice!

Tomorrow, the city council will be discussing this project and potentially making a decision on wether it should go through or not. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Attend the City Council Work Meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, June 19) and voice your support. We estimate the City Council will begin talking about Bulldog Boulevard at 2:20pm.
  2. Email the City Council to voice your support of the project if you cannot attend. Send your message to council@provo.org. Key talking points in support of the project include safety improvements and city beautification. If you drive a car on that road, please mention how unsafe it feels in a car currently.

Don’t wait!Your inaction could cause this project to fail. Join us in voicing your support today!

Community Applauds New Lanes on 500 West

People who bicycle are praising the new bike lanes on 500 West, which were installed early this month. The lanes run from 300 South to the new Lakeview Parkway (road and more importantly, trail), a distance of 1.6 miles. They provide folks in the southwest neighborhoods a safe route into central Provo (though not quite to downtown) for the first time.

Going the other direction, they give recreational riders, including families out for a spin, access to the trail that opens up stunning views of the mountain, lake, marsh and farmland as heads west to the airport. They also connect bicyclists to East Bay workplaces via the trail in the opposite (easterly) direction and the bridge over 1-15. In short, the 500 West lanes are a significant step toward the creation of a robust network of bikeways in Provo and a boost to quality of life.

The lanes at their southern edge at the Lakeview Parkway. The trail runs on the south side.

Becky Hunt, a resident of Lakewood Neighborhood who uses 500 West to get her job at city hall, said “I love the new bike lanes. My commute to work is much safer.” Curtis Thacker, who commutes from south Provo to BYU and uses it for recreational rides to get to Provo Canyon, commented, “The new bike lanes on south 500 West are great. Before this change there were no lines on the road. Adding bike lanes makes the road much safer for cyclists. These new lines on the road effectively narrow the road through a school zone, naturally slowing traffic through that area. 500 West also provides great access to Lakeside Parkway which is great for cyclists. The changes are an all around great thing. I only wish the bike lane went further north on 500 West.” Another resident of the neighborhood and fellow city employee, Phil Uhl, upon hearing the news that the lanes would be installed exclaimed on Facebook, “My commute (4x per day on this segment) just got safer.” He must go home for lunch.

The lanes looking running north from the 1-15 underpass.

Bike commuters headed to work in the opposite direction at companies in East Bay are happy about the lanes too. A resident of the Dixon Neighborhood who had just started a new job in that area and was unfamiliar with 500 West without bike lanes said that he was sure glad they had been installed. He could not imagine riding safely on the road without them. Brandon Taylor, who lives in Grandview North Neighborhood and works in the old Novell building, said “the new lanes are pretty cool. They are very obvious as opposed to most bike lanes that can easily be looked over.” Perhaps it is the newly painted lines on a road that was completely devoid of any lines before.

Looking south at the lane just north of the train tracks.

In the near future, the new lanes on 500 West will connect to the wider network of lanes that is emerging in Provo. UDOT has indicated that next year they will be installing bike lanes on the part of 500 West that they control: State Street. Although they have not revealed their final plans, those lanes will likely run north from 300 South to Bulldog Boulevard, which will be endowed with protected bike lanes next year. Those two projects will connect people on bikes to the lanes on 500 North (going in this year); those going east and west on 800/820 North; the bike lanes on University Avenue, both those installed by UDOT north of 700 North to the mouth of the Canyon last fall and those that will be installed south of 700 North to 500 South as a part of the BRT project; to the Provo River Trail and College Connector Trail; and so on. The goal is an interconnected web of bikeways (absent of any gaps!) that people of all ages can navigate safely and conveniently making bicycling not an alternative form of transformation, but at least for short trips around town, a safe, convenient, and preferable mode of getting to work, to school, and to run errands. That will greatly improve resident’s quality of life.

A bike marker moments after it was painted in the lane on July 6th.

Thanks to Mayor Curtis and his Public Works team for understanding that and for their dogged efforts to ensure that bike lanes were installed on 500 West, despite the legitimate demand for on-street parking on the road. It’s now time to officially install bike lanes on another important north-south corridor, one with negligible on-street parking: Canyon Road.

Headed north on the new lanes from the Lakeview Parkway Trail.

by Aaron Skabelund

Complete Street Celebration: Sneak Peek

What do raised intersections, painted crosswalks, buffered bicycle lanes, signage, and bulb outs have to do with creating a safer street?

Find out for yourself by taking a look at the temporary 500 North Pilot Project, organized by neighborhood volunteers. The project will be up for a couple weeks (although the paint is freshest now!) until the city is ready to re-pave the street and will give the public a chance to try out potential new road features.

Come to the Complete Street Celebration and BBQ on Saturday, July 29th from 7-8:30 in front of the Rec Center. Also, stop by any time with your family and friends to take a look, snap some photos, and give the street a try.

Here’s a quick glimpse and what you’ll find:

Thanks to Christopher Wiltsie for snapping these early morning shots!

What were Provo Police, Neighbors, the Bicycle Committee, and People From All Over Provo Doing with Dozens of Cans of Paint at 2 a.m. on Friday?

You may have noticed something unusual on 500 North this Friday night.

Neighbors, police officers, city employees, the Provo Bicycle Committee, and people from all over the city joined together to paint the town. Literally.

What’s the deal with all the fresh paint (and bales of hay)? We’re running a pilot project to make 500 North a safer street for neighbors and residents headed to the Rec Center and North Park.

Come to the family-friendly 500 North Celebration (7pm on 500 N by the Rec Center) tomorrow (July 29th) for free KirbyQ BBQ and the chance to see the pilot and share your own ideas.

In the mean time, here’s a tiny sneak-peak of the fun we had in the middle of the night:

 

Photo credit: the good ones were taken by Christopher Wiltsie and I took the not-so-great ones.

Help Us Re-Imagine 500 N!

500 N will look different on the morning of Saturday, July 29th. That transformation will be the result of a neighborhood experiment, funded by a state grant and supported by the city, to model a street safer for people to get to the Recreation Center, North Park, Timpanogos Elementary School, the Library, and other destinations. This means making the street friendly and safe for neighborhood residents, pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers (for EVERYONE!) who would like to use 500 N.

Please join us this Friday night (July 28th) as we make temporary changes to 500 N to make it safer for people who walk and bike. After a quick BBQ at 10:00 pm (prepared by the North Park Neighborhood chair), we will begin our work at 10:30 pm. We will be simulating a raised tabletop intersection at 300 W and and raised crosswalk at 400 W with paint. We will be installing buffered bike lanes between 200 and 500 W.

The City’s Street Division has already started the poject by painting in two parallel buffered bike lanes on both sides for the Street from 200 to 500 W. On Friday, one group will paint in the cross-hatching between these lines and bike markers on the right side of them.

Provo Police will be closing down the road from 200 W to 400 W so that we can safely implement the pilot. (Please wear bright clothing.) We will work in the cover of night but with the blessing of the city. This pilot is funded primarily by a $1,000 grant from the Utah Department of Health, sponsored by Bike Utah and supported by the Utah County Health Department. Please come prepared to have fun and make a difference.

Please RSVP so we can get an idea of how much food to prepare for the BBQ and how many worker bees we will have to execute the pilot from 10:30 pm. We hope to be finished by midnight.

Complete the Street Celebration

The following evening, Saturday, July 29th, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm we will host a public event to introduce the project to elected officials and the general public. Please join us on 500 N between 200 W and 500 W to re-imagine what our streets can be. The project will demonstrate possible changes to the street (that might be implemented soon or in the future) and start a conversation about our public streets. Most importantly, the pilot project requires… A GOOD IMAGINATION! Keep in mind that what you’re seeing is just a mockup of how permanent street changes might look. See beyond temporary items like chalk and cones to imagine how the street could look in the future.

Bring your neighbors, friends and family and come celebrate a completed street! There will be food trucks, information booths, activities, and lots of people. Hope to see you there!

For more information visit the Facebook Event Page.

UDOT Brings Buffered Bike Lanes to North University Avenue and Beyond

by Aaron Skabelund, Provo Bicycle Committee Chair

Late last fall, UDOT dramatically transformed North University Avenue by installing bike lanes—almost of all buffered—from 700 North to 5200 North, where they connect to the Provo River Trail on the north end of the Riverwoods near the mouth of Provo Canyon.

Here is what they look like from a drone.

A photo taken last November of the new buffered bicycle lanes across from the Riverwoods. UDOT soon thereafter installed “no parking” signs so bicyclists like the one pictured no longer have to go around cars parked in the lane.

In total, UDOT added 3.27 miles of buffered bike lanes in each direction, or 6.54 total miles. These are the first buffered bike lanes on a state route in Utah. They also added .88 miles in each direction, or 1.76 total miles of standard bike lanes on the south end from 700 North to University Parkway, where a lack of width and too many driveways did not allow for buffered bike lanes. They posted over 112 signs along the route—from “No Parking” to “Bike Lane” signs—and in addition to the lines, painted many bike markers on University and at every cross street with traffic lights on that section to signal to bicyclists that the overhead radar will detect them at those intersections.

Here are some of those markers:

And in more detail. The third marker is one of those as a cross street, in this case at Bulldog.

“The University Avenue project came about because we knew that many people use it to gain access to Provo Canyon,” observed UDOT’s Matt Parker. “We realized that there are different users and that many people do not want to mix with pedestrians on the Provo River Trail as it is dangerous for both pedestrians and cyclists if the cyclists are moving very fast. Those who ride on the road are the ones that would not be comfortable on the trail and we saw many people riding on the road with no bike lanes. Obviously something needed to be done to ensure that all users could use the facility safely.”

What is even more exciting than these lanes on North University is that this is not a one-time move by UDOT but part of a trend and emblematic of a change in UDOT’s culture. Several years ago, UDOT Regional Offices began to form active transportation committees. The committee of the Region 3 Office, which oversees the 6 counties of Utah, Wasatch, Juab, Duchesne, Uintah and Daggett, is led by Parker. The committee referenced the Utah Collaborative Active Transportation Study (UCATS) map and coordinated with Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) on the existing infrastructure. They looked at existing gaps in the infrastructure and tried to start filling those gaps with recommended projects. They validated that information by asking those who ride and are employed by UDOT, discussing the projects with MAG and cities in Utah County.

In short, as UDOT Deputy Director Shane Marshall emphatically declared at last year’s Utah Bike Summit last year, UDOT is transforming itself into a department of transportation rather than a department of roads. UDOT and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recognize that transportation is moving people, not just vehicles/cars. Parker’s role in Region 3 is to ensure that UDOT spend its resources. “If we can get more people using other forms of transportation,” Parker recognizes, “we can move more people more efficiently. I am an avid cyclist and would—like many people—ride my bike more if we had better infrastructure that ensured our safety.”

Here is a big shout out to UDOT leadership—from Director Carlos Braceras and Marshall at the top to Region 3 Director Teri Newell, Parker, and their team in Orem. Thanks also to Mayor Curtis and Public Works for their support of this project.

We look forward to more projects in the near future. This summer, Parker reports, bike lanes will go down on Geneva Road between University Parkway and 400 North in Orem. And of course, as part of the BRT project, the lanes on University Avenue will be extended south from 700 North to 600 South. Elsewhere in Provo, UDOT is looking to put in lanes on State Street (500 West) and to close existing gaps in the bikeway network. UDOT’s dramatic transformation and bike-friendly policies almost have us wishing there were more state roads in Provo.