|Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker announcing the "Year of the Bike"|
“This is an unprecedented collaboration among municipal, regional and state entities to enhance and highlight bicycling in our communities,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. “I look forward to a year dedicated to outreach and education while we move forward together on many exciting new projects and efforts.” Many cyclists are unaware of the invisible boundaries that lie between incorporated areas, cities and government agencies, they just want to ride their bike. Getting partners involved in bicycling initiatives opens the doors for the urban cycling dialogue will help blend these efforts across the valley. In addition to new bicycle infrastructure being installed around the Valley, the City will feature the upcoming 600 East Bicycle Boulevard and the Parley’s Trail expansion in Sugarhouse as part of the “Year of the Bike” festivities.
The year 2013 will be considered a tipping point for bicycle use in the Salt Lake Valley as many programs are planned for the coming months. This spring SLC Bike Share will be turning heads and wheels with their bicycle rental stations where users can check-out bikes to quickly traverse between solar powered stations. More than 100+ bikes will be dispersed throughout the system to create a network of high-end, commuter-friendly bicycles designed to make getting around downtown Salt Lake fun and easy. For people who already own bicycles, the Bicycle Collective will again be providing their Bicycle Valet during many downtown events and festivals like the Farmers Market and Twilight Concert Series as well as during University of Utah’s PAC-12 Football Games.
There are innumerable environmental, social, health and economic benefits associated with bicycling for recreation and as active transportation. At the press announcement, UTA General Manager Mike Allegra was cheered at his statements about what UTA is doing to encourage bicycle ridership. Buses will be upgrading their bicycle racks so they can accept 3 bikes while on route and “starting this month [UTA] will be installing bicycle hooks where you can hang your bikes inside our new TRAX vehicles.” For the many bicyclists that utilize transit and have to wait for the next bus because the rack is full or balance with their bike on TRAX, this is a welcome improvement.
There will be many events throughout the year, the highlight of which is the Mayor’s Bike to Work Day in May to kick off Bike Month. There will also be a Salt Lake City "Open Streets" event on May 4th, where segments of 300 south will be closed to vehicle traffic and oepned to pedestirans and bikes. The city is also launching its Road Respect Bicycle Ambassadors program where enthusiastic and knowledgeable citizens who travel by bike encourage others and serve as positive examples for safe cycling. The University of Utah, recently designated a Bicycle Friendly Silver University, is already planning bicycle festivities to compliment its’ Earth Day events in April in addition to its 3rd Annual “Bike to the U Day” festivities that occur in the fall. The U’s Commuter Services department has plans of re-opening the Campus Bike Shop, which was previously run by student volunteers. UTA’s Bike Bonanza has bicycle-oriented vendors, goodie bags and demonstrations during Bike to Work week.
In the next couple months keep your eyes peeled for the shiny new edition of the SLC Bikeways Map that will be hitting shelves at your local bike shop this cycling season! For a full line-up of “Year of the Bike” festivities visit: http://bikeslc.com/What'sNew/SLCEvents.html
Full press conference video available below: