By Phil Sarnoff
Many of you are probably aware of the population projections for Utah over the next 35 years. Here is a quick overview of the statistics from a study by the Utah Foundation (http://www.utahfoundation.org/uploads/rr720.pdf).
Approximately 85% of Utah’s population currently lives along the Wasatch Front. From 2010 to 2050, the populations in the four Wasatch Front counties is expected to increase significantly:
• Weber County – up 72% (from 231,236 to 398,699)
• Davis County – up 52% (from 306,479 to 465,664)
• Salt Lake County – up 61% (from 1.03 million to 1.66 million)
• Utah County – up 136%. (from 516,564 to 1.22 million)
The projected increase for many other counties across the state is even more significant
• Washington County – up 242% (from 138,115 to 474,567)
• Wasatch County – up 225% (from 23,530 to 76,389)
• Tooele County – up 171% (from 58,218 to 157,821)
• Summit County – up 143% (from 36,324 to 88,334)
The reason I bring this up is because of a healthy level of concern for what Utah will look like in 35 years. These increases in population will mean more cars, traffic congestion, more air pollution, and greater deterioration of roadways. Hopefully, this is not a certain future.
If we hope to avoid this future, a significant change is needed in our infrastructure priorities and it needs to get kick started immediately. The bike lanes, multi-use pathways, and trails have to be on the ground and ready for use.
Consider this a teaser for our next major campaign, which we will be unveiling in the coming months. This initiative will lay the foundation for what will be a change in the landscape for bicycling.
Most importantly, we need you to be involved. Our campaign will require grassroots support from people interested in seeing a more positive future for all types of bicycling. Sign up for our email list at www.bikeutah.org
Phil Sarnoff is the executive director of Bike Utah, a statewide advocacy organization.