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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.

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