Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Making Salt Lake Bicycle Friendly

The Salt Lake City, Utah Image via WikipediaHow are we going to make our area more bicycle friendly?

The City of Salt Lake is turning 200 South into a more bicycle friendly street but what else is being done to encourage the use of bicycles? After all, much of the valley is pretty flat which makes it perfect bicycling territory, but we still have few facilities for bicycles.

I have to admit I have not rode a bicycle since I was in Jr. High School because it just became to dangerous to ride. I was living in Southern California at the time and there was no bike lanes so the bicycle ended up being parked.

Recently I did purchase a new bike for recreational riding along the Jordan River Trail. There is few bicycle lanes or other facilities near me so my riding will be limited to the trails.

So what are the answers?

In some European cities bicycles have their own separate area. You will have car lanes to one side, then dedicated bicycle lanes and finally the actual sidewalks. This gives bicycles their own right of way so they are not interfering with automobiles or pedestrians and their right of way is not invaded.

The city of Portland is making bike lanes much more noticeable by painting them and then also have large areas at intersections for bicycles to wait.

Another area where Salt Lake City could catch up is Bicycle shares. While I was on vacation back in May there was an article about this in one of the local papers. We need to adapt a system such cites of Paris have with bike sharing. There you put in a credit card deposit and then you can rent a bike relatively cheaply for a certain amount of time. There is talk of putting such a facility in at the Central Station but there will need to be more facilities to make the project workable.

The wonderful blog Transit Miami often has several previous entries about trying to make their area more bicycle friendly and yesterday had a link to the city of Cambridge that is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the country.

Bicyclist can also help the cause by not doing things like running red lights that only hurt the cause of making the area more bicycle friendly.
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