The Salt Lake Tribune reported yesterday that Provo is the third friendliest biking city in Utah. The ranking is part of Provo becoming a bronze-level bicycle-friendly community as determined by the League of American Bicyclists. The other two bike-friendly communities in Utah are Salt Lake and Park City.
Though Provo seems like a natural member of the bike-friendly club in Utah, the third-place ranking is significant. For starters, both Park City and Salt Lake City are richer, meaning they’ve had more resources with which to build bike infrastructure. Provo is also beating larger cities, like West Valley City, up-and-coming cities like American Fork, and cities that people in Salt Lake sometimes mistakenly think are cooler than Provo, like Ogden.
My point is that Provo’s bike friendliness is anything but inevitable or obvious. In fact, it reflects a strong commitment to biking on the part of city leaders and activists. The Tribune article emphasizes that commitment:
The city has constructed 42 miles of bike lanes during the past 15 years. This summer the city added bike lanes on Seven Peaks Boulevard and expanded shoulders for biking from Provo to Springville on the south end of State Street along with several other bike-lane projects. As part of the city’s recently awarded $150,000 grant, it has created a bicycle master plan, including seven miles of road on the west side of Provo with a separate trail for bikes and pedestrians.
Provo still has a long way to go, as I’m prone to point out on this blog. But hopefully the need for more development doesn’t obscure the fact that the city and a passionate core of biking advocates are really doing amazing things. The key going forward is to maintain and increase biking infrastructure so Provo isn’t overtaken by some of those cities I mentioned above.