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South Valley Journal

Biking in Riverton Just Got Easier

Jul 13, 2016 08:54AM ● By Briana Kelley

Mayor Bill Applegarth and Councilmember Paul Wayman inform residents of Riverton’s Active Transportation Plan on June 11. Photo courtesy of Briana Kelley.

 By Briana Kelley | [email protected]

There is good news for residents who love to bike, walk and run. Riverton City is currently pursuing projects to increase bike lanes and walking trails throughout the city. Project construction begins this year and will continue through 2018 (see map on next page). Mayor Bill Applegarth and Councilmember Paul Wayman presented information to the public at Riverton Hospital’s Community Health Fair on June 11.

“I think the highest priority for many people is having bike lanes and safe walking routes,” Wayman said. “That to me has always been really up high on people’s priorities, along with parks. Parks, bike lanes and safe walking trails. So these projects, I think, really benefit everybody.”

Wayman has worked on the city’s transportation master plan along with Public Works Director Trace Robinson, Councilmember Tricia Tingey, Applegarth and others. The city is also a member of the Wasatch Front Regional Council (WFRC), a metropolitan planning organization that provides federal funds for transportation policies and projects.

Through WFRC, Salt Lake County and other organizations, Riverton City has been able to secure grants for these active transportation projects, according to Applegarth. Active transportation is a new term used to fund walking, running and bicycle routes.

“I think there are many ways that these projects benefit Riverton residents,” Applegarth said. “From a health standpoint, it helps improve air quality because they’re riding a bike and taking a car off the road. It improves their health because they’re involved in exercise. I think those are very, very significant things.”

Applegarth said there are other benefits as well.

“It also helps in congestion because you’re pulling cars off the road and putting bicycles on there,” he said. “So the goal and the reason people are putting out grants is not just to use it for recreation time but to encourage people to ride bikes to the destinations.”

 The projects include:

– Completing buffered bike lanes from 11800 South to 12600 South along 2700 West in 2016.

– Completing Midas Creek Trail connections west of Bangerter Highway in 2017.

– Extending the road right-of-way to add bike lanes on 13400 South west of 2700 West in 2017.

– Adding width for bike lanes along 12600 South from Bangerter Highway to Mountain View in 2018.

Applegarth’s vision for a more bike-friendly and walking-friendly city began when he visited Minneapolis in 2013, a city that he described as a mecca for urban bike riders. Since that time, city leaders have actively pursued ways to build better active transportation routes.

“You always have to ask the question ‘Should the government be involved in this, or should the government not be involved in this?’” Applegarth said. “When you’re talking bike lanes on long roads or painted in the roads, who else could do it but the government? So I believe it is a very strong government function to help improve the health of the citizens in this city.”

Many residents are excited about the changes, and many participated in the active transportation survey sent out by the city.

“I think it’s good because it’s going to make our city a much safer place for people, especially people who like to bike and run and that’s really important to me,” resident Cynthia Portlock said. “My husband likes to run and bike, and he’s had many times where he has felt unsafe. I think there is a lack of education for where it is safe to be running and biking. It’s good to get outdoors, and it’s good to exercise, and I think this is going to help our city be a safer place.”