Implementation Plans for Downtown to University of Utah Bike Route Slated to Bypass Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan
September 13, 2016 – Regarding the soon to be constructed 300 South Downtown to University of Utah bike route in Salt Lake City: We are pleased to see that the route will be constructed. It will be a great addition to Salt Lake City's bike route network and an important connection to the most popular commuter destination in the state – The University of Utah. This will help to better the air and health of Salt Lake City.
We are however very dismayed that the plans for 300 S are not following the recently passed Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan. The plan calls for this to be a low-stress bike route. The Council also encouraged this, we believe, as part of the funding for the low-stress bikeway network.
Why is Salt Lake City not following the Bike/Ped Master Plan?
A low stress bike route is defined as one of three things: a protected bike lane (like 200 W and 300 S), a buffered bike lane (similar to those on 200 S between 700 E and 900 E), or in very low traffic areas – a neighborhood byway.
The current plans from SLC Transportation for implementing bike lanes on 300 S between 600 E and 1100 E call for regular bike lanes, not low stress lanes. This will reduce the effectiveness of this crucial commuter route.
Further, the recent public outreach for this project showed great support for continuing the protected bike lane eastward. Yet Salt Lake City seems to be ignoring this input.
The protected or at least – buffered bike lanes could easily be installed on this stretch if there were just 2 vehicle traffic lanes (1 each way) and no center turn lane rather than 2 and a center turn lane. This would leave room for parking, and protected or buffered bike lanes.
Since 300 S between 600 E and 1100 E is almost exclusively residential, a center turn lane is not needed. Lastly, there should be stop sign installed at 300 S and 800 E to reduce potential accidents at this intersection. A pedestrian activated signal here should be included too. Note that the plans for the bike routes from 1100 E to the University of Utah are great and don’t need to be modified at all.
A recent Salt Lake County survey showed that people feel far safer with buffered bike lanes than with regular ones. Salt Lake City needs to continue to be progressive and in the forefront nationally with its bike way network. Additionally, the 300 S protected bike lane has been a retail success and resulted in increased receipts as well as increased bicycle ridership. In addition, the atmosphere on 300 S is more vibrant and more pleasant, and lower stress for all people using the area.
Additionally, with the recently passed resolution to drastically cut Salt Lake City's carbon emissions, city planning that puts people on bikes and on foot and in transit first and ahead of cars is imperative in order to meet our goals. Anything less will result in failure.
We ask that Salt Lake City follow the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan and immediately revisit the striping plan and install buffered bike lanes from 600 E to 1100 E on 300 S.
Comments may be submitted (asap) to:
Block by block design: http://www.slcgov.com/transportation/UtoDTBlocks