By TERESSA GENETTI-SCOTT
Planners of a bike and pedestrian trail that would connect BYU and Utah Valley State College are hoping to lure college students out of their cars and down their path.
The trail will start at Rock Canyon Park and trace University Parkway until reaching Utah Lake. Along the way, it will connect with the University Mall, the Provo River Parkway Trail and Bonneville Shoreline Trail in addition to the two college campuses.
The federal government allocated $850,000 to the Mountainland Association of Governments for the 7.4-mile-trail in 1997, said Shawn Seager, a Mountainland planner.
Seager said the idea for the trail started five years ago when Mountainland conducted a transportation study to go along with the U.S. Census. The study showed high use of existing trails and sidewalks in population dense areas in Utah Valley like BYU and UVSC.
In the next couple of weeks, the city will pave the Provo River Parkway Trail, making it a viable north-south connector trail for bikers and skaters. However, students would benefit most from an east-west trail, said Provo Parks and Recreation director Roger Thomas.
“The trail will try to get students from one campus to another. Right now,there is no east-west connection other than going on main roads. It will also give residents in Orem and west of Orem a better chance to enjoy the parks and trails of Provo,” he said.
Construction plans for the trail are still tentative, but Mountainland expects the project to begin next summer. It is expected to take about three to six months to complete the trail.
Mountainland would like to see 10-foot-path separated from the roadway by a five feet of landscaping.
However, if space or money becomes a problem Mountainland will revert back to a wide travel/bicycle lane like 2290 North in Provo. An in-lane facility with a painted line for a bicycle lane on the right-hand shoulder would be another alternative for parts of the path.
Mountainland is in the process of hiring a consultant to oversee the planning and construction of the project. The consultant’s work will be guided by a seven member steering committee that includes representatives from the Provo and Orem Public Works Departments, the University Mall, BYU and UVSC.
Bruce Maw, landscape architect for BYU, will be representing the campus on the committee. He said BYU has a very minor part in the overall plan for the path. He said BYU is not planning to make any modifications for the path.
However, the “College Connecting Trail” will link with bike paths BYU is planning at 900 East.
“It will give students a designated path from 900 East to Rock Canyon and a safe path from the north end to University Mall,” he said.
In the summer and fall, Mountainland will host several public meetings to gather input from residents in Provo and Orem.