Get your ride on! UTA’s Bike Bonanza at Gallivan Plaza takes place May 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. and recognizes Bike to Work Week with bicycle-oriented vendors and freebies for participants. The City will also host bicycle commuter pit stops—with free food and drinks— at the intersections of 800 South and 600 East and 200 South and 200 West for those who ride to work that day.
SLC Mayor Ralph Becker, on right, has made bike issues a ceterpiece of his administration. Photo by Chris Jameson.
For Utah cyclists, summer means hitting the pavement to take advantage of the beautiful canyons and wide, bike-friendly streets. Warm weather hurries the flowers from the ground and returns cyclists to the seat of their bikes, eager to whiz past the beauty of nature en route to their destinations.
Earlier this year, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker—dubbed by some as “the bike mayor”— declared 2013 the Year of the Bike to promote the many bicycle-friendly events, programs and projects planned for the city. These events, he says, are a great way for people to come in to the city and try out Greenbike, a newly-launched bike sharing program that gives members access to rental bikes at stations scattered across downtown. The program allows access to any bike from any station with membership fees starting at $5.
“The bike share program is such a great way to make it easy for people to take short trips and get around downtown,” says Becker. “We love being able to make the community accessible in a way that supports air quality and promotes good health.”
Local businesses have embraced the program as an efficient and inexpensive way to connect different areas of the city and drive commerce. “We are excited to have Greenbike here,” says Rochelle Fraser, marketing director for The Gateway Mall. She noted that, in addition to hosting a Greenbike station at The Gateway, participating retailers offer a Rider’s Rewards program, which provides discounts to guests who take public transport to and from the mall.
Greenbike bicycles. Photo by Jaime Winston.
Todd Wolfenbarger, president and partner at The Summit Group, a local public relations firm, appreciates the mayor's effort in creating new transportation avenues. “We applaud his work to create a more bike friendly city,” Wolfenbarger says, also giving a nod to the Downtown Alliance, a partner in the bike share program, and key sponsor Select Health.
Wolfenbarger says his company has also established incentives for employees to make better use of public transport, including pre-tax transportation passes, bike storage, showers for riders and offering a company car for those who use public transport but may have meetings during the day. “These benefits help us attract a wider range of talent and accommodate our employees who want to reduce their energy use on the way to or from work,” he says.
Becker appreciates the support of local businesses and says bike projects will stay near the top of his agenda. “My goal is to make cycling as accessible as possible,” he says of improvements, which include dedicated biking paths throughout the city. “That means people need to feel safe comfortable.”
The number of cyclists in Salt Lake City has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks in part to dedicated city resources and efforts of local agencies, including the Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Transit Authority, Wasatch Front Regional Council, Salt Lake County and the University of Utah.
“The year of the bike designation celebrates a real partnership we’ve never had before,” says Becker. “Everybody who’s involved with transportation in this region is engaged.” The UTA , Becker says, plans to add more bike racks to buses and TRAX trains and create accommodations for bikes on Frontrunner trains and at the platforms. Davis County is also working on creating 30 miles of bicycle trails.