Cyclists gather to christen Red Hills Parkway Interchange; STGnews Videocast

Cyclists participate in a christening ride at the new Red Hills Parkway Interchange, St. George, Utah, Dec. 3, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

ST GEORGE — Community members and cyclists gathered together Wednesday for an inaugural bike ride to christen the trails and culvert connections at the new Red Hills Parkway Interchange in St. George.

The group gathered in the LDS chapel parking lot at 1250 N. Bluff St., where a variety of bikes had been provided by Red Rock Bicycle Co. and Bicycles Unlimited for those who did not want to walk the trail segment.

(report continues below)

Videocast by Devan Chavez, St. George News

The Utah Department of Transportation no longer does ribbon-cutting ceremonies, Marc Mortensen, assistant to the St. George city manager, said. Since anticipation for the project has been high, he said he felt an opening event was warranted, and he coordinated with the Southern Utah Bicycle Association to make the ride happen.

“We’re spending an extra $1.2 million dollars on facilities that accommodate pedestrians and cyclists,” Mortensen said. “So I said, ‘Hey, why don’t we at least pull … the cycling community and give them a sneak peek and explain to them how it’s going to work.’”

The christening ride began at the church, and riders headed along the newly constructed northbound state Route 18 ramp. Once at the top, Nathan Merrill, a traffic engineer for UDOT, who rode his bicycle with the group, gave a brief overview about what people could expect with the new connections.

Cyclists participate in a christening ride at the new Red Hills Parkway Interchange, St. George, Utah, Dec. 3, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
Cyclists participate in a christening ride at the new Red Hills Parkway Interchange, St. George, Utah, Dec. 3, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

Four different tunnels will be available to cyclists and pedestrians traveling north or south on SR-18 to either turn up Red Hills Parkway or down Snow Canyon Parkway, Merrill said. These tunnels will safely take the cyclists away from motor vehicles at the intersection.

Cyclists or motorists wishing to continue on SR-18 or Bluff Street can use the new overhead ramp structures to avoid the lower intersection if they wish, as well, Merrill said.

“This is a pretty popular route for cyclists, both in recreation and training for local events,” he said.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike joined the cyclists on their ride and also took some time to thank UDOT and the Southern Utah Bicycle Association for their collaborative efforts on both the event and the trail connections.

With the number of cyclists continuing to increase in the area, Merrill said, the finished product will offer a safer option for those in the area who like to travel by means other than cars.

Cyclists participate in a christening ride at the new Red Hills Parkway Interchange, St. George, Utah, Dec. 3, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News
Cyclists participate in a christening ride at the new Red Hills Parkway Interchange, St. George, Utah, Dec. 3, 2014 | Photo by Devan Chavez, St. George News

“I think we have a great end result,” Pike said. “I think it will be more safe for cyclists as well as pedestrians — and, of course, motorists — who are using this.”

Approximately 35 people attended the christening ride, which was a welcome surprise because only about 20 were expected, Mortensen said.

Two weeks ago, Pike appointed 13 people as members of a new St. George Active Transportation Committee, Mortensen said. At the committee’s first meeting on Dec. 11, issues facing the cycling and pedestrian community will be discussed.

“This represents the first of many changes that people will be expecting to see over the next several years to makes us more of a cycling destination,” Mortensen said.

The interchange will be open for motor traffic by Thursday morning, Merrill said. The pedestrian and bicycle trail connections are expected to open up within in the following two to three days. The landscaping and other finishing touches will continue to be worked on but will not impact the flow of traffic.

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Click on image to enlarge

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27 Comments

  • No Saints in St. George December 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Nice. So we spent 1.2 mill on more bike paths and structures that the narrow tire snobs wont use. I am amazed everytime my family and i are forced into the oncoming traffic lane by a bike rider who is using the roadway, parallel to a high dollor bike path, which is empty.

    • Cyclist December 4, 2014 at 7:30 am

      So where in this city are you forced into oncoming traffic because you can’t figure out how to safely go around a bike rider “and” there is a multi-use path parallel to the road you are traveling? Not sure where that would be.
      Also, going into oncoming traffic and putting others into danger because you can’t wait 5 seconds to maneuver your vehicle safely around a cyclist is just plain ignorant and dangerous on your part.

      • No Saints in St. George December 4, 2014 at 9:38 pm

        Riverside Drive, Dixie Drive, Red Hills Parkway, North Bluff Street, and everywhere else taxpayers have funded a so called bike path. And yes it is dangerous to cross painted lane lines or slow down to 10 in the lanes of travel, the other motorized vehicles on the public streets funded by fuel taxes are also going 40+ mph.

        Heck good golly darn Brother, turn this whole town into bikes and public transit – then who pays the taxes to fund the whole mess?

    • koolaid December 4, 2014 at 8:27 am

      To ride on that ‘bike’ path that parallels Snow Canyon Parkway is dangerous. Maximum safe speed on it is about 10 mph. Anything faster and you hit those jarring bumps or risk hitting motorists who stop on the pathway. We don’t need to mention the joggers and walkers with their earbuds and walking dogs and pushing their triple baby strollers on the pathway.

      • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 10:53 am

        Yeah and you have people like evil twit that spend two days trying to find his way out of a roundabout

        • My Evil Twin December 4, 2014 at 1:46 pm

          And then there are people? like Zonkster who need a roundabout in their living room, so they can tell the kitchen from the bathroom. 🙂

          • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

            And then there are people like evil twit that don’t even know what a bathroom is

      • Wilbur December 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm

        don’t worry, your helmet will protect you

  • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Then stay home whaaaaaa whaaaaaa want some cheese with that whine

    • My Evil Twin December 4, 2014 at 9:17 am

      Does your mommy know you are up at 3:03 am looking at your computer, instead of being tucked up in you little beddybye? Must have been looking at porn again, before reading SGNews.

      • Koolaid December 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

        He couldn’t sleep with her snoring.

        • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:04 pm

          Hey KOOLAID yeah evil twits mother does snore really loud

      • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 10:45 am

        Whaaaaaa whaaaaaa. You poor little thing somebody make a poopoo in your sandbox and mommy not there to clean it up for you….. Ahh I feel so bad for you

      • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 10:51 am

        I can make you respond by just being here I own you…..

        • My Evil Twin December 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm

          Yep, you are right. Undoubtedly. A true legend in your own mind.

      • PROTECT THE SHEEP December 4, 2014 at 11:28 am

        well, don’t we all 😉

  • What December 4, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Sounds like all the cyclist haters better move out of Southern Utah. You just read it, in the next couple years this is going to be a cycling destination. That means alot more bikes. Great job Utah. Thats why I love St. George and choose to live here.

  • PROTECT THE SHEEP December 4, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I hope this interchange doesn’t confuse my old brain so much that I ram into an obstacle at high speed…

  • Red Rocker December 4, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Cyclists have the right to the road in Utah. Complaining about this fact is analogous to complaining about the Moon.

    • Zonkerb December 4, 2014 at 3:07 pm

      Yep

    • No Saints in St. George December 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Of course, the moon just appeared within the last decade with an entitlement attitude and no regard for anything except for it’s moon up riding partner – side by side – riding in the travel lane.

  • ChupaNigra December 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    I thought this was article was going to be about a protest because a police officer killed a brother on a bike. Then I analyzed the picture, realized that I am just out of touch with reality.

  • QTipimwhite December 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    I think it’s funny KoolAid and Zonkerb took INCOGNEGRO’s material and is using it against other people. You both would not have a chance in a game of whit against that guy. INCOGNEGRO aka Bruce Banner aka The Mouth of the SOUF is a certifiable BMF. Go Raiders!

  • Herd December 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    What are the cops on bikes for? To monitor the crowd for any illegal dancing activities?

  • LadyK December 5, 2014 at 12:25 am

    If bikes are going to use the roadway and we are going to spend millions of dollars to specifically give them tunnels and roadways to ride on then they need to fund them. The same way OHV’s have had to do. I too am sick of having to go try to maneuver around them when they are to busy having a conversation with each other 4 across to get out of the way for those of us that actually did pay to fund the roadway they are on. If they are going to use it then tax them a fair tax the way we do vehicles.

    • Cyclist December 5, 2014 at 9:09 am

      In case you don’t realize this, many cyclist own one or more cars and do pay their fair share of taxes associated with that. In fact, the competitive bikers may own several cars and use them to travel to racing events and other training rides and excursions. I’m sure they do pay their fair share of the tax load.
      And how would you regulate taxing bicycles? Do you tax the kids who bike to school too? Do you tax the occasional bike rider puttering around the neighborhood? Where’s the cut-off?
      I think the real problem is that many motorists who see fit cyclists out for a training ride and are jealous of them because they know it’s a level of physical fitness and coordination they can never achieve. They then lash out on a comment board because that’s the easy way out.

      • No Saints in St. George December 5, 2014 at 10:53 pm

        I pay taxes:, prop., income, payroll, fuel, etc. I pay but i also appreciate the value. Every person on the road propelled with dino bones pays taxes for them. My kid in the park parking lot on her bike does not exert any burden upon the roadway, and doesn’t pay as should be expected. You are paid up to drive in the car, it is a roadway, not a bike path.

        And no, I don’t envy your narcissism near as much as you envy my life. Interesting though, spell checker defaulted to narcotics while typing this! Your pride is a powerfull drug indeed.

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