Inclement weather did not prevent a crowd from gathering at the City/County Building on Feb. 22 to celebrate with Salt Lake City in its designation of 2013 as the Year of the Bike. The U joined other founding partners–Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake County, Utah Department of Transportation, and Wasatch Front Regional Council–in support of the new initiative. The designation recognizes and promotes bicycle transportation programs and infrastructure, increases awareness and participation, and engages partners in promoting the many programs and projects happening across the region.
The vision for bicycling, as expressed in Salt Lake City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which also addresses walking, is “to enhance use of the bicycle for transportation and recreation, and walking for pleasure and mobility, to foster community respect for bicycling and walking, and to promote bicycling and walking as ways to enhance personal health and improve the community environment.”
Partnering organizations will work to increase public awareness and community engagement in order to maximize bicycle use through a multitude of bicycle-related projects and outreach efforts throughout the year, including educating residents on safe, responsible cycling habits; celebrating new additions to bicycle infrastructure; and promoting bicycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly commuting option.
Heidi Goedhart, the U’s bicycle coordinator, represented the University at the press event. “Many of our students, faculty and staff trickle into campus from all over the valley, so through a partnership with the city and other relevant agencies we can help improve the cycling connections to and from campus,” says Goedhart. “By embracing the cycling community and helping to promote bicycling we can essentially have a positive impact on our surrounding community by reducing dependency on other transportation modes.”
Dozens of events have been added to the Year of the Bike event calendar, including:
- GREENbike, SLC Bike Share program debut, April
- Utah Bike Summit, April
- Open Streets Salt Lake City, May
- UTA Bike Bonanza, May
- Road Respect Bicycle Tour, June
- New bikeway openings, June/July
- Salt Lake County Bicycle Ambassador program
“This is an unprecedented collaboration among municipal, regional, and state entities to enhance and highlight bicycling in our communities,” says Mayor Becker. “I look forward to a year dedicated to outreach and education while we move forward together on many exciting new projects and efforts.”