By Turner C. Bitton — During the past year the Ogden City Council, Administration, and citizens have been engaged in a robust conversation about a Bicycle Master Plan meant to make the city safe and accessible for cyclists. Approved at the February 6th meeting of the Ogden City Council, the 56-page plan lays out an ambitious agenda designed to connect the city’s neighborhoods, downtown core, business clusters, and other points of interest.
City officials have gone to great lengths to ensure community input and involvement and the plan reflects the desires of the community as a whole to have a safer means of commuting by bicycle. Included in the plan are a number of infrastructure and capital investments meant to solidify Ogden’s reputation as a hub for the cycling industry and cyclists.
Among the key benefits for bicycle commuters are:
The plan represents the interests of all cyclists, not just experienced cyclists. Among the stated objective of the plan is to “encourage bicycling for all ages and abilities.” The plan certainly accomplishes this as not only does the plan include significant investments in commuter cycling infrastructure, it also includes provisions for a future bike share program (popular with shoppers and casual commuters), increased investment in more leisurely locations such as the Grant Avenue Promenade, and even encourages the integration of bicycles into popular community events and festivals such as the farmer’s market.
You will now be able to get anywhere from anywhere in the city. The $7.9 million list of potential infrastructure investments and upgrades traverse the city. Each distinct neighborhood, every major thoroughfare, and all major points of interest are reflected on the list. Investments ranging from protected bike lanes to shared lane markings mean that you can ride from North Ogden City to South Ogden City and West Ogden to the slopes of the East Bench with more safety, security, and ease.
Long distance commutes made easier. As someone who commutes to Salt Lake City each day, I have long considered commuting to the FrontRunner station by bike each morning. As a resident of the city’s North end, I would have to cross several main streets, including 12th Street during rush hour traffic. As a result, I commute each day in my Subaru Outback. With the infrastructure priorities outlined in the plan, my commute to the FrontRunner station will be significantly safer. I will be able to utilize protected bike lanes and then the Grant Promenade nearly all the way to my destination.
However, given Ogden’s interest in having a FrontRunner stop at the Business Depot of Ogden, it is likely that my commute will soon be less than ten minutes from train to home. To those visiting Ogden from points South on FrontRunner, the new infrastructure means the city will be more welcoming and accessible than ever before.
Even those residing outside of Ogden City proper will benefit. The planners involved in the creation of the plan will quite literally pave the way for the entirety of Weber County to one day be connected by miles of bicycle infrastructure. Rather than avoiding major thoroughfares such as Harrison, Monroe, and Washington Boulevards as well as Wall Avenue planners made the decision to use these existing thoroughfares as access points to the city for bicycles.
One can imagine a day when Harrisville, Marriott-Slaterville, West Haven, South Ogden, Riverdale, Washington Terrace, and North Ogden establish and further implement their own bicycle master plans to connect with Ogden’s extensive system of bicycle infrastructure. With the recent Bronze Level Bike Friendly Community Awards given to Ogden and Riverdale, coupled with investments in Weber County’s unincorporated areas mean that the likely domino effect of Ogden’s actions will become precedent setting throughout Northern Utah providing a successful model for the rapidly developing Davis County and the highly connected Cache County.
Those interested in learning more about the Ogden Bicycle Master Plan can visit http://tinyurl.com/OgdenBikePlan
Turner C. Bitton is an avid cyclist and serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations and in many volunteer leadership capacities. He lives in Ogden with his fiancé Chase and their two dogs Charley and Moose.