Provo Bicycle Committee Presents Bike-Friendly Ideas to Provo City Council

This Tuesday the Provo Bicycle Committee (www.provobc.com) was invited to present their progress and ideas at the city council study meeting. Committee chairman Zac Whitmore did an excellent job of giving an update on the many Committee projects and getting the council members excited about the need for a bicycle and pedestrian map in the general plan.

Zac showed a photo presentation of many of the Committee’s best events including bike tune-ups at the Farrer Elementary bicycle safety rodeo, Provelo bicycle picnic series, the Committee’s table at the Bike-to-Work-Day breakfast, and family / community bicycle rides.

He also expressed to the council just how urgent a bicycle plan is for our city. Other cities including Salt Lake and Park City have comprehensive plans. Orem’s plan is almost complete. Now is the time for Provo to act. As Zac explained, a focus on bicycle and pedestrian transportation will reduce traffic congestion, ease parking problems, improve our (sometimes dangerous) air quality, strengthen our neighborhoods, and improve our downtown.

The council seemed quite supportive of the ideas expressed. Council Chair Johnson explained that she had taken the Mayor’s bicycle challenge and was surprised at how difficult it is to ride in some parts of the city. Councilwoman Dayton expressed interest in helping Provo recieve some of the funds available to help cities study their transportation plans and find ways to make roads safer for bicycles.

The Bicycle Committee was appreciative of the opportunity to share thier ideas and is looking forward to the inclusion of the bicycle map when the city council votes on the general plan.

To see a video of the Bicycle Committee presentation, take a look at Provo Channel 15 – Item 5a.

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.