By Aaron Skabelund, Provo Bicycle Committee Chair
This action alert is about bike lane markings on the south portion of Canyon Road and is specifically directed to all residents living in the Edgemont, Rock Canyon, North Timpview, Pleasant View, and Riverbottoms neighborhoods, which include or border Canyon Road. Others who use Canyon Road and/or concerned about creating an integrated bicycle network are encouraged to be involved as well.
This year, when the city repaved Canyon Road north of 4525 North (Foothill Drive), it painted in bicycle lanes from 4525 North all the way to University Avenue and recently officially designated them as bicycle lanes by painting in the pavement bicyclist markings as seen below (note the children walking to school).
But last year, when the city repaved Canyon Road south of 4525 North to about 2825 North, it painted in bicycle lanes along this entire stretch and intended to officially designate them as bicycle lanes with the pavement bicyclist markings, but before it could do so, a few residents and at least one business complained directly or indirectly through their neighborhood chairs about the imminent loss of on-street parking. In the face of this opposition, the city understandably backed down and the street does not include the previously anticipated bicycle lane markings.
In short, the periodic on-street parking of a few on a public road trumped the creation of a complete street that would have resulted in a safe corridor for bicyclists along this road that is widely used to commute to BYU and central Provo, to get to thee Provo River Trail and the canyon, and with bike lanes could be a safe and popular route for K-12 students riding to school and for families and others going for a ride the area.
Unfortunately, the bicycling community heard nothing about this until the city felt like it had no choice but to back down. It would make a huge difference–hopefully THE difference–if members of the bicycling community, especially those bicyclists who live in the neighborhoods that include or border Canyon Road, communicate to their neighborhood chairs (contact information below) and city council representatives for officially designated and marked bicycle lanes on the south portion of Canyon Road. Others who feel strongly should direct their comments to District One City Councilman, Gary Winterton (firstname.lastname@example.org), and city wide council members, David Sewell (email@example.com) and Gary Garrett (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please send an email or call these folks. If we raise our voices passionately but respectfully and rationally, I am confident that by next summer the lanes will be all officially marked as bike lanes along Canyon Road.
Additionally, please keep riding on Canyon Road and make a point of patronizing businesses on that street on your bike and don’t be shy to mention that you did so when you are making your purchases (and thank them if they are providing bicycle parking or kindly request bicycle parking if it is lacking). Our actions should match our words and hopefully together they will make the difference.
This morning, I went for a run up to take a few photos of the lanes at 4525 North (Foothill Boulevard) because I had not yet seen them first hand and only been told that they had been officially marked to the north. A mother (Alison Parker) who was walking home from Canyon Crest noticed me taking the photos and asked me when the lanes south of 4525 North would be officially marked. She lives to the south of 4525 off Canyon Road and her children like to ride to school but she does not feel comfortable letting them do so unless they ride on the sidewalk because the lane, in her words, is “a pull-over lane” rather than an officially marked bicycle lane. During Bike to School Week at Canyon Crest in September, she let her kids ride in the lanes because she rode with them. If the lanes were officially marked, she feels that would be much safer for her kids than them riding on the sidewalk and risking getting hit by cars pulling in and out of driveways as has nearly happened. In short, this is a safety issue that needs to be remedied, as Engineering intended, as soon as possible.
If you are not sure what neighborhood you live in, please check these maps.
Edgemont Neighborhood Chair
Rock Canyon Neighborhood Chair
North Timpview Neighborhood Chair
Pleasant View Neighborhood Chair