Salt Lake Co. Hopes to Boost Bicycle Commuting with New Projects

A map of Salt Lake County's planned bicycle projects. (Source: slco.org)

A map of Salt Lake County’s planned bicycle projects. (Source: slco.org)

(KCPW News) Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams unveiled a plan to improve bikeways in the region on Thursday. The $800,000 initiative will add bicycle lanes to critical stretches of road, in an effort to better-connect sections of the county’s commuter bike network.

Carlton Christensen, Salt Lake County Director of Regional Development, said the goal is to make commuting by bike safer for county residents.

“Most of these projects have a high safety component to them, and while bicycle lanes don’t necessarily protect you from a car that might swerve out of its lane, it helps guide both the auto and the cyclist in the right corridors, and it also makes you aware of who might be next to you,” he said.

Christiansen said the projects chosen for this initiative were based on analysis performed by the county. That analysis looked at a variety of factors.

“Our transportation folks, who’ve focused on active transportation or bicycle transportation, have done a series of analysis that deal with frequency of use and what would affect the most people,” he said. “And through that rating structure and the amount of funds available, they selected these particular projects to move forward with.”

According to Christiansen, the county hopes to complete all sixteen selected projects by the end of this year or early next year. Construction will include adding bike lanes on both sides of the road and improving surface conditions.

A U.S. Census report shows that 0.6 percent of Americans use bicycles to commute. In Salt Lake City, 2.5 percent currently commute by bike.