Holly Ross was tired. She tried her best to stay within the bike lanes painted on the road as she rode her bike home from campus. Ross approached a busy street and looked down in horror to find that the bike lanes had vanished and that she was in the middle of a dangerous intersection, unprotected.
“Bike lanes are inconsistent and vary from street to street. Some are great, some are pretty bad and some don’t exist at all. I just want the safety that comes from consistency,” said Ross, a junior from California.
But good news is on its way for Ross and other local biking enthusiasts. Provo City has been working on approving a Provo bike lane makeover for the last two years after receiving a county grant to do so in 2011.
The plan is known as the Bicycle Master Plan and it is a 250-plus page document that covers construction, infrastructure, cost, resources and public preference, all revolving around what it takes to make Provo a bike-friendly city. Officials and advocates hope city council will formerly approve its execution by late summer or early fall.
Provo City councilman Sterling Beck described more bike lanes as a necessity due to Provo’s good biking weather and active population.
“It doesn’t do you any good to be able to ride up the street and then be thrown into traffic,” Beck said.
Provo city officials even visited Boulder, Colo., a city lauded for its comprehensive bike lanes, in order to get an idea of what Provo needs.
Early on in the project, private contractor Alta Planning & Design surveyed every street in Provo to begin the long-term bike plan. For the last two years Provo city engineers have been straightening out the kinks and adding the finishing touches.
“All that’s left is resolving a couple political things regarding the plan,” said city engineer Casey Serr, who formerly oversaw the bike plan.
Beck described some of these “political things” as public outreach meetings and putting the final touches on where exactly how much funding will go to sidewalks for pedestrians and roads for drivers.
“This plan is going to be at the top of the agenda soon,” Beck said. “We hope to have it ready to go by the end of the summer.”
Ross represents many BYU students and Provo residents that are concerned about their safety when biking to and from work, school and around town.
“If there were more bike lanes in Provo, I would totally bike more,” Ross said. “There are a lot of bikers at BYU that probably feel the same way.”