Two Years in Review: Mary Wade’s time as Executive Director of BikeWalk Provo

Like many people, I used to think that a city’s built environment is a given; it didn’t occur to me to question the width of our streets or the installation of specific bike racks. It wasn’t until I started volunteering at BikeWalk Provo that I realized how much design and education matter, not only for keeping people safe, but for providing pleasant and convenient multi-modal transportation choices. So it has been an honor to serve as director for the past 2 years. As I close this chapter, I want to reflect on our organization’s efforts and highlights during this time. 

From Bike Month in May to Bike to School Week in September, our signature events have continued over the last 2 years, even amid COVID restrictions. We also published a new Bike to School Week planning guide for Provo PTA’s and school community councils. 

Just recently, we held the 2nd annual Provo Women’s Bike Summit, which included a virtual screening of the Motherload and a Q&A with the film director, Mayor Kaufusi, and other inspiring local women. Two previous screenings, along with cargo bike test rides, have helped increase the number of families riding with kids in Provo! Other community engagement successes have included our BikeWalk Stories campaign, a “Right of Way” author webinar, the Goodbye Goatheads campaign, a Cougar Blvd clean-up service project, and family group rides. 

We have been grateful for the city’s continued participation in our active transportation tours, with participants representing City Council, the Mayor’s office, TMAC, Planning, and Engineering. These lead to important first-hand experiences to recognize Provo’s progress and opportunities for growth in active transportation and transit. A huge shout-out to the city for installing many new bike racks over the past couple of years, as well as installing new sidewalks on Columbia Lane & 450 N! We’re also so grateful for various improvements in the bike network, particularly on 500 N between the Rec Center and library. 

Service stakeholder committees and active public input has impacted the UVX project, Cougar Boulevard, and 500 W bike lanes and 300 N bike signal. We continue to use grassroots organization to bring awareness to issues like Center Street, a 900 E UVX stop, and the proposed 800 N widening. We were also able to recertify our Silver Bicycle Friendly Community status. 

The Timp Neighborhood 300 W tactical urbanism project was a huge highlight. Volunteers had a great time coming together to reimagine 300 W both as a neighborhood bikeway and a key connection between the train station all the way to the Provo River Trail. 

When cities make room for all kinds of transportation needs, everyone benefits, whether from decreased traffic congestion, improved air quality, less social isolation, or more independent children. I look forward to BikeWalk Provo’s next steps in promoting this more sustainable and equitable vision, and I offer my congratulations to Austin Taylor for his recent appointment as our new executive director! 

Mary Wade served as Executive Director of BikeWalk Provo from 2019 through 2020. She will now be leading up our Safe Routes to School efforts.

Fund Sustainable Transportation and Outdoor Recreation in Utah

SEND YOUR LETTER NOW

Governor Spencer Cox’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget includes two big investments in sustainable transportation and outdoor recreation: $125 million dollars for trails and other outdoor recreation infrastructure and $350 million dollars to doubletrack UTA’s Frontrunner commuter rail service.

In a region susceptible to poor air quality from inversions and with a rapidly growing population, it is critical that Utah makes walking, biking, and public transit a priority. Increased residential density and increased driving is a recipe for congestion, pollution, and endless government spending on new roads and highways.

Join us in sending a letter to your state legislators now.

Gov. Spencer Cox is proposing to invest $125m in trails and outdoor recreation and $350m to double track @rideuta Frontrunner. We are supporting him in this proposal. We’re asking you to send an email to your state legislators in support of this proposal. With a tool we’re using, you can send a pre-written email off in just 30 seconds. Link in bio. Click it now. This is huge.

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Join us for a free screening of @motherloadmovie with a Q&A session following with the director Liz Canning, @mayorkaufusi, and a few other moms who bike in Provo. Motherload is a film that captures a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of modern life, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote. Registrants will receive the link to watch on their own about 36 hours before the Q&A. The Q&A session will be at 7pm on January 14. This event is held in partnership with @provobicyclecollective as part of Provo’s second annual Women’s Bike Summit. REGISTRATION LINK IN BIO.

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#bikewalkprovostories Austin Taylor “At the beginning of the pandemic as things shut down, I put my everyday bike in the shed and left it there for a week. I walked everywhere instead as I had more time on my hands and fewer places to go. It was eye-opening. I noticed architecture and public art I hadn’t before. I stopped at local restaurants and shops more frequently to get a snack. I crossed paths with friends and chatted (six feet way, of course). A city that encourages walking and makes it safe to do so will have a healthier, more connected community and stronger economy.”

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