cycling utah August 2000


New MBAC chair notes gains and losses

By Chris Quann

      Regular readers of the Bicycle Advocate column will have noticed the absence of Rob MacLeod's byline. Rob was chair of the Salt Lake City Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee for the past three years or so, until he recently had to scale back on some of his many commitments.
      When Rob asked me if I would be willing to take over as chair of the MBAC, I reluctantly accepted. I was reluctant because Rob has set the bar so high with his eloquence, diplomacy and effectiveness in getting things done to improve the bicycling community in Salt Lake. I know he will be a tough act to follow.
      Luckily, Rob is still around to offer his advice and incredible knowledge of all things related to cycling in Salt Lake. The MBAC also has a solid core of bicycle advocates ready and willing to embark on new projects. We are fortunate to have Dennis Guy-Sell, Malcolm Campbell, Mark Smedley, Kory Gillette and Dave Iltis, to name just a few, working to keep the valley safe for cycling. I would like to add YOUR name to this list, as we must all remain vigilant to protect bicycle habitat.
      In this quest there will be victories as well as setbacks. One huge victory happened when the Salt Lake City Council voted to deny rezoning for the mega Mall proposed for the intersection of 5600 West and I-80. This mall would have occupied an area between 5600 West to 6200 West, from I-80 down to 700 South. It would have been a catalyst for huge amounts of secondary development, none of which would add pleasure to bicycling. Thank goodness it seems to be dead, but new threats will emerge.
      An impending setback is the loss of 40th West through the airport. The airport loop is one of my favorite training rides. It makes me sad to think it will soon be gone. The MBAC has identified a really cool replacement route through beautiful wetland area west of the airport that has the support of Mayor Rocky Anderson. Nobody ever thought about a bike route through the wetlands west of the airport until it became clear that we would lose 40th West. With adversity comes the opportunity to see the world in a different way. All we have to do is find money.
      It doesn't take any money, however, to show up August 23 at Woods Cross High School for an open house and formal hearing on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Phase I of the Legacy Highway Project. The event will be held from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and is your best chance to make your feelings known about a project that would significantly change the cycling experience. BE THERE.
      Another opportunity rolled into town July 24th with the Nagano - Salt Lake
(NASL) Environmental Mission. This group of intrepid Japanese delivered an environmental message from Nagano to Salt Lake entirely without the use of fossil fuels. They walked and used electric bicycles from Nagano to Port Shimizu, Japan. They then sailed across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco whereupon they rode bicycles to carry the message across the desert to Salt Lake. The message originated during the Lillehammer Olympics of 1994 and is a challenge to future Olympic cities to conduct the games in a manner that honors the earth. It was a privilege and a pleasure to ride the final leg of the journey into Salt Lake with the Japanese delegation.
      It's no surprise to me that bicycles should figure so prominently in delivering the message to honor the earth. The cycling community should seize this opportunity to raise awareness of cycling as the "right thing to do." If nothing else, it has made me start to plan a tour to Turin, Italy sometime before 2006. During the Giro would be a good time.
      Chris Quann is the chair of the Salt Lake City Mayors Bicycle Advisory Committee and a Cat. 3 racer.

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