Yesterday was a great end to an amazing weekend power packed with advice, advancement, and general comradery concerning everything to do with bicycles and Utah. There was however one grey cloud over the beginning of the precession. Mayor Becker (of SLC) had his bike stolen yesterday, on the first day of the summit, ironically enough. He had it locked up outside across the street from the summit. For our readers who have never had a bike stolen I hope that they never have to. For those of us who have had bikes stolen we know what a bummer it can be, and hope that the Mayor can get back on a bike (preferably his) soon. We all know were there is a special place set aside for bicycle thieves.
Before we begin I should warn this post is a little long. In my defense the meeting was seven hours long and pretty much packed full of important information I promise that your investment in time will pay off. Leaving the bike theft, the rest of the summit delivered just as strong as yesterday with some even more helpful insight into what we can do to make Utah, and specifically Provo, a great place to bicycle. Lets get started.
The day started with us finally being able to take part in the awesome bicycle valet parking that was being supplied by the Salt Lake Bicycle Collective. They had offered it the day before but we had arrived to early to take part. It all worked like your standard valet program. They took our bikes put a tag on them and then gave us a bracelet with a matching number. We would end up turning in the bracelet for the bicycle at the end of the day. This is the first time I have been able to take place in bike valet and it was really nice to not have to worry if my bicycle or its components were going to be where I left them when I got out of the meeting. Thanks again to all the Collective volunteers for the help and awesome service.
The meeting began with a welcome from Peter Corroon the Salt Lake County Mayor. He had a bit to say about the strides Salt Lake is taking to become more bicycle friendly, which we have covered, or will cover shortly. In closing he pointed out an interesting and somewhat funny story relating the history of bicycles and cars. He stated that in New York 1896 the first car crash happened, it involved a car and a bicyclist. It drew some laughter and thought on the fact that we are still having the same problems in our transportation and urban design as we were over 100 years ago.
Next was a panel/audience discussion were each member of the panel presented for a few minutes, and then the floor was opened up for questions. First up was Dan Bergenthal who is a Trails Coordinator/Transportation Engineer, and works with the Salt Lake City Transportation Division. His comments were really good for people looking to get more directly involved. He began by saying that we need to be the change we want to see. This directly linked him into talking about volunteering to make that change. He spent some time on bonnevile shore line trail maintenance program. Trail maintenance is now on our families list of things to do this summer. I believe his two last points were his strongest. First, if you want bike paths on existing roads, or new roads, it is really good to know the cities Master Plan. I went to find Provo’s and it looks like the link is broken, so what we need to do now is let someone know it is down and then get a copy of the Master Plan. The second major suggestion he added was get involved with your local Bicycle Committee. He said that a majority of what happens with bicycles in SLC has to do with their Bicycle Committee. This first lecture really kicked off an underlining theme for the day that went something like, “You are in charge of what does and does not happen in your cities and communities.”
Second was Evelyn Tuddenham Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for UDOT. Mrs Tuddenham spoke of the four fold mission UDOT has for their projects; improve safety, improve mobility, increase capacity, and take care of what we have. She also went into how UDOT does things when planning for roads and paths. All and all she called for cyclists to be informed and if you want to see changes or make sure that new construction has the things that will help cyclists that you need to get in on the planning and conception part of the project, right at the beginning. You will see this comment running through out the speakers and suggestions.
Third was Jerry Jouer (spelling?) who works with the Trails Department if I remember right. The reason for the vagueness is that he was not originally intended as the speaker but stepped in for someone who was to ill to attend. Primarily he spoke on how, out of all the cities, Salt Lake is the most progressive and aggressive with their bicycle infrastructure. Personally I saw this as a challenge for other cities (I am looking at you Provo), to step it up and give SLC a run for their money. Jerry did a great job for having such a limited time to prepare.