Salt Lake is leading the way in making Utah more bike-friendly

The 300 South and 200 West protected intersection in downtown Salt Lake.
The 300 South and 200 West protected intersection in downtown Salt Lake.

Utah is the fifth most bike-friendly state in the country according to new rankings from the League of American Bicyclists.  The League released the rankings on the opening day of the National Bike to Work Week, that runs from Monday to Friday, May 15.

Utah moved up three spots in the 2015 rankings.  The state received high marks for its 2014 State Bicycle Plan, dedicated state funding and educational campaigns for bike safety.

The rankings come just after Salt Lake City announced that the City will build the Nation’s first protected intersection for bicycles this summer.  The protected intersection will connect the 300 South protected bike lane to the proposed 200 West protected lane.

“These projects are part of my initiatives to improve urban livability and regional air quality, provide transportation choices, and create a healthy, sustainable city,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker in a press release.

The new intersection will allow bicyclists to make left turns without crossing oncoming traffic and will be built simultaneously as the protected bike lane on 200 West.

Work on the 200 West project is expected to take place between August and October, following completion of a gas main replacement project currently underway by Questar Gas.  The street will be re-sealed between North Temple and 900 South to maintain pavement quality.

Improvements to 200 West are being made to better connect transit stations at North Temple and 900 South with amenities and activities in Downtown Salt Lake City, to improve safety, and to create a more vibrant and walkable downtown.

The new streetscape will include: curbs and planters to separate bike lanes from vehicle traffic, angled on-street parking between 200 South and 400 South, new pedestrian crossings and public art.

In 2006, 200 West was identified as a regional priority bicycle route in the Regional Transportation Plan and Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan. In 2013, the Wasatch Front Regional Council awarded federal funding to this project in order to improve the existing substandard bicycle lanes on the street.

A comprehensive traffic analysis of the street, conducted by the Salt Lake City Transportation Division in 2014, found that the vehicle lanes on 200 West are significantly underutilized. According to the City, the new configuration will accommodate the demand for vehicle traffic and maintain parking, while better accommodating downtown trips made by foot or bicycle.

Apart from the 200 West project. This summer construction will begin on the 600 East Neighborhood Byway.  The 600 East corridor will receive new bicycle/pedestrian signals, crossing treatments, bikeway markings and signage.

Salt Lake City is celebrating National Bike to Work Week as part of May’s Bike Month.  Tuesday morning Mayor Becker, along with Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams led a group of community cyclists from Sugar House Park to the City and County Building in downtown as part of the Mayors’ Bike-to-Work Day.

Other City events celebrating Bike-to-Work Week include:

  • The Bicycle Commuter Pit-Stops event on May 14 from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. with local businesses providing free breakfast to bike commuters.
  • UTA’s Bike Bonanza, a free event on May 15 at The Gallivan Center from 4:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. with entertainment, prizes and a bike fashion show.

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