By Ashley Patterson
David Everitt pulls off what so many people can’t seem to do. As the Chief of Staff for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, he has a high powered job that requires the wearing of a suit, and has a huge number of meetings each day, yet he somehow manages to ride a bike to work almost every day. How does he do it?
“My commute is a bit over a mile each way so it’s short. I actually moved to make my commute shorter because my workdays can be pretty long. And because so many of my meetings are in the downtown core or the Salt Lake County complex, I find it’s usually just as fast to ride a bike as it is to drive. And since riding is important to me, I ride a minimum of 60% of the days.”
So David is able to wear professional clothes on the bike but also has rain or snow pants and jackets to pull over the nice duds for our occasional inclement weather. He advises other aspiring cyclists to get some waterproof gear, and also not be overly concerned about the perceptions of colleagues. “People in this city are pretty accommodating in terms of business dress.”
An added bonus of working for Salt Lake City is that he is provided with a transit pass for those days when the weather or his schedule makes it tricky. He finds he uses his car to get to work about 5-6 days per month, and with so little use he is able to share his (valuable!) downtown parking spot with a fellow Salt Lake City employee. Because he and his wife live and work in the downtown area they are able to share a car, which has allowed them to save money on their overall costs because while downtown housing might be slightly more expensive than other areas, owning only one car for two people has overall resulted in big financial savings for them.
Being a Salt Lake City mover and shaker means that dining and entertainment is an important aspect of his life, and because so many great restaurants and attractions are right in the core of downtown, they are all very accessible by bike, which is music to the ears of those businesses. He also marvels that he can live right downtown in Salt Lake City, but in just 15 minutes of pedaling, he can get to the great mountain bike trails in City Creek canyon.
David is an avid proponent of the new protected bike lane of 300 South and shares stories of how it has changed his commuter patterns and driven decisions about where he and his wife spend money on dining and entertainment. He also pointed out that he has noticed that more and more cyclists are using that protected lane and speculates that more of that infrastructure will have a significant positive impact on commuter numbers in the City.
The Greenbike program has also allowed him to bicycle more frequently, and he’s seeing that use increasing. “If the average person has a meeting that is a 15 minute walk from their office, that person might consider driving when crunched for time. However, with the Greenbike option, that time is cut by about 1/3, and now is competitive with driving short distances.”
The best part of riding to work for David is that he often brings along his dog, Zsazsa in his backpack or messenger bag. Zsazsa is a 7lb Chihuahua who is advancing in years and needs a bit of extra attention. Like all of us, she likes getting a little wind in her hair and a ride in a messenger back on a short bike commute is just what the vet ordered.
As one of the truly busiest people in Salt Lake City, David Everitt is not only a driving force for improving the city for cyclists but also an inspiration for everyone who would like to bike commute just a bit more.
If you have a suggestion for a commuter profile, have a commuter question, or other comments, please send it to [email protected]