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Why Yes, the Provo Bike Committee is Famous

Last month the Provo Bike Committee donated tools and time at the first-annual Farrer Elementary Bike Rodeo. Check us out in the video below, from Provo Channel 17.

If American Idol isn’t working out for you, come help the Provo Bike Committee this summer. Join us in the sweet limelight of public access television.

Or, just come on down because bicycles are fun to ride and an important way to strengthen our community. Every month there are new ways for you to lend a hand. Join the Bike Committee Facebook Group for up-to-the-minute news about Provo cycling advocacy. And, don’t forget to become a fan of BikeProvo for updates on everything bike-related in the valley.

Council Meeting on BRT

photo credit: Edgar Zuniga Jr.

Last night was the council meeting about where the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) was going to be placed in Provo. The BRT is a bus line that will run from Provo to Orem and connect the Front Runner stations that will be operating within the next two years. The decision that was made last night was whether this bus line was going to go on University Ave. or Freedom Blvd. The council voted 6-1 for the line to go on University Ave. You may be asking yourself what this has to do with bicycles?

If you follow this website or the Provo Bicycle Committee Facebook you will know that in the projected plan that was presented to Provo City bicycles were not going to be an option on University Ave. once they completed the BRT. With this in mind the Bicycle Committee got people together to ride to the meeting and make sure that cyclists voices were heard. We (cyclists) had a showing of about 16 people at the meeting. About 5 of those 16 stood up and spoke to the council about the need for cycle lanes on University if there was going to be a BRT. Some members of the Provo Bicycle Committee (Tod Robbins and myself) stood up first to present the statement that was previously prepared and to help dispel what seems to be the biggest fear for this project, that bicycle lanes will take away on street parking. Everyone that spoke did an awesome job and, in my opinion, really let the council know that there are many cyclists/citizens in this city who want good safe bicycle lanes as well as livable communities.

After most of the bicycle advocates presented their cases many business owners stood to express their concerns about which road the BRT would be placed on. Almost every single one of the business owners who expressed their concerns also spoke up for the need of more bicycle lanes. This includes the General Manager of Provo Marriott Hotel who actually said “There should be a bike lane on 9th (9th East), University, and Freedom because we need more bike lanes.” The support also included one business owner who gave my favorite quote of the night, “If I were a politician I would be buying a bicycle.” It was really neat to see cyclists and non-cyclists working towards a mutual goal. Once public opinion was done UTA came forward to present their plan and desire to set up on University Avenue. There were many questions about the project that were non-cycling related. They had to do with why University was better than Freedom.

On the cycling front we really saw two champions step forward from the City Council: Sterling Beck and Steve Turley. We at BikeProvo know that Sterling Beck is for cycling and seeing cycling thrive in Provo. He has made that evident by his support of cycling events and organization in Provo as well as by his comments last night to make sure bicycles have a spot in this project. In the meeting Steve Turley also pointed out that it was entirely possible to have parking, bike lanes, and green space, based on the measurements that were given by UTA and the suggestions made by the Bicycle Committee. Hopefully we can see more bicycle acknowledgment from Councilman Turley in the future.

photo credit: ebis50

All and all this meeting was a good step in the right direction. But, there is a lot more work to do. Now that UTA has the green light they are going to move forward and do final engineering that will include block by block analysis of what will work were and what may have to be sacrificed for what. We as the cycling community need to make sure that bicycles do not fall by the wayside. We need to contact our council members and let them know that bicyclists/citizens want these lanes to exist and want Provo to keep striving towards livable communities. Often we talk about the need for change or the desire to make a difference. This is our chance to effect change and make a difference; this is our chance to set a precedent. Let’s not let it pass us by. In closing, I want to give a big thanks to everyone who has showed their support so far and for all those who were able to make it to the meeting – thank you.

Yehuda is Back!!!!!!!

What’s that, you have never heard of Yehuda Moon? Well, you obviously have not lived yet. Yehuda Moon is a daily online comic that gives awesome insight into the bicycling world from all riders’ perspectives. Yehuda Moon himself is a year round, car free, transportational cyclist. He works at the Kickstand Cyclery with Joe a purebred road cyclist, and Thistle a kick butt bakfiets mama. The comic follows the adventures of Yehuda, Joe, Thistle, and a revolving cast that have all the same encounters, adventures, and issues that most riders have dealt with at least once. From time to time Rick Smith (the artist/author) will take a break from the comic. The last break just ended and now my mornings are complete again (my home page is set to Yehudamoon.com). I hope you all enjoy the link to the comic and make it a daily visit to add to the love of bicycles in your lives. If you really like it I recommend subscribing to the comic as it will help keep it going. Hope your day is full of sunshine and tailwind.

Rides, Classes, Discounts and Dozens More Ways to Celebrate Utah Bike Month

From commuting workshops to the Bike Bonanza, there are dozens of events planned for National / Utah bike month. Cities throughout the state are participating, so you can enjoy the Bike-to-Work-Day ride right here in Provo or branch out and attend state-wide events all month long. To find a complete listing of happenings, take a look at the Utah Bike Month website.

If you attend any of these events, please let us know by emailing your experience and any snapshots to bikeprovo AT gmail. We’d love to share your adventure on the blog.

Salt Lake City Awarded Silver Recognition as Bike-Friendly City

A hearty congratulations to our neighbors from the North! The League of American Cyclists recently announced that Salt Lake City has achieved silver status as a bike-friendly community. They were previously awarded bronze status in 2007. Park City is the only other town that makes the cut – they were also awarded bronze status in 2007.

Although I don’t have the details yet, I have it on good authority that Zac and the Provo Bike Committee will soon be working with our local leaders to improve bike-friendliness in Provo. Here’s hoping we make the list in 2011!

National Bike Month

Happy Bike Month! May means it’s time to hop on your bike and celebrate the freedom of two wheels by cycling around our fine flat town. Check out the League of American Bicyclists Blog to learn about nation-wide events including the recognition of bike-friendly communities and a Silence Ride.

Here in Provo we’ll celebrate on Bike-to-Work Day (May 18), by joining Mayor Curtis on a morning ride sponsored by UTA and Provo City. The Bicycle Committee is also planning some exciting events – so, stay tuned for more information.

Urgent: Petition for Bicycle Lanes on University Avenue

The Provo Bicycle Committee is petitioning UTA and the Provo City Council to include bicycle lanes on the plans to re-do University Avenue. This is a unique opportunity to create a real “Complete Street” for our city, but your help is needed!

The current UTA plans will re-do the street to provide Bus Rapid Transit – busses that act like trains, arrive every 5 minutes, and have their own dedicated lanes. Unfortunately, bicycles have been ignored. The UTA has also proposed to shorten the sidewalks, making it difficult for cyclists to ride either on and off of the road. You can help make sure bicycles are included by including your name on this petition from the Provo Bicycle Committee:

It has come to the attention of the Provo Bicycle Committee, and citizens of Provo, that Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will be installing a BRT route on University Avenue from 700 North to 300 South (connecting to the Provo Intermodal Transit Hub). While this project will be a great asset to many citizens in Provo and a great help in making the FrontRunner train accessible and usable by all citizens in the Provo-Orem area, the current BRT proposal excludes any bicycle use on either street. We believe this to be a serious exclusion of many citizens in the Provo area. Since 1990 there has been a 96% increase in trips by bicycle to work. This statistic does not take into account students going to school, families running errands, or any other transportation-based cyclist.

By not including cyclists, UTA and Provo City are promoting incomplete streets and passing up a timely opportunity to have a north to south dedicated bicycle lane along University Avenue. This lane would not only connect Provo and visiting cyclists to the rest of Provo, but it would also connect cyclists traveling north and south to the main bicycle paths leading into Orem and up Provo Canyon. Making this connection is vital for cyclists in the Provo area. If University Avenue is going to be renovated into something better it should be made into something that is the best option: a Complete Street.

Complete Streets are streets that take into account mass transit, vehicular traffic, pedestrian traffic, and bicycle traffic. Complete Streets are a backbone of livable communities and treat each form of transportation evenly and fairly. Complete Streets are a vital and important marker for healthy communities. This important accommodation will help relieve congestion on Provo streets, calms street traffic, help improve the air quality in Utah Valley, and improve the overall safety on the street for all users. It makes more economic sense for these accommodations to be made now rather than retrofitting the streets at a later date, a further expense to Provo taxpayers. This BRT project must have dedicated bicycle lanes to make it a complete and valuable asset to the community and citizens of Provo.

If you or anyone you know is interested in signing on to this statement, please email Tod  (todd.d.robbins AT gmail) with your permission for inclusion on the petition-statement that will be presented to the Provo Municipal Council on May 4. More details on the May 4 meeting will be sent out shortly concerning our plans for influencing the Council in the interest of bicyclists throughout the city and in the interest of Complete Streets policy. We encourage all of you to contact your council member by phone, email, or in person and share your concern for dedicated bicycle lanes along University Avenue. Every message is seriously considered.

Another one bites the dust. Bike theft is a bummer.

A few days ago we here at BikeProvo announced that the Mayor’s bicycle (SLC) was stolen the first day of the summit. Then today a buddy of mine had his bike stolen from the back of one of the shops that I work at (sorry about the loss Leather Jacket). As a result we thought it wise to post this video of Hal. To give you some background Hal has been a wrench in NY for many many years. A few years ago him and some guys he knows made a video about how to properly lock your bicycle in the big city. The video posted is the first one but there are two more out there. The other two are more of the same tips but with new and funny commentary from Hal.

I know that we live in Provo UT but, as it turns out, bicycle theft is the number one crime in the city according to the police officer from a bike rodeo we attended. So get your bike registered (you can follow the link on the left), and make sure that you do a good lock job. Poor locking only encourages theft. Which in turn only promotes people to try and steal other bikes if the first one was so easy. I believe bicycle thieves are the lowest of the low and deserve whatever they have coming to them. On the other hand though if you watch the movie the Bicycle Thief it is kind of hard to not hope for the best if you ride does disappear. Hope you enjoy and learn how to better protect your ride.

Mark Your Calendars – May Critical Mass

Take advantage of the gorgeous weather by riding in next month’s Critical Mass.

What: An informal, celebratory bicycle ride for people of all ages.

When: May 7th, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Center & University

Almost a hundred people are planning on riding and the invitation just went out. Learn more and get excited by checking out the the Critical Mass Facebook event page.

photo credit: Velo Steve