St. George Active Transportation Committee holds first meeting, discusses need for bike racks

ST. GEORGE – The newly appointed Active Transportation Committee – a 13-person committee appointed by St. George Mayor Jon Pike representing the city, the cycling community, business community and health community – held their first monthly meeting at St. George City Hall Thursday.

The committee consists of bicycle shop owners, race organizers, the Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance, representatives from Intermountain Healthcare and the Washington County School District as well as St. George City staff and the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Created in large part to represent the growing interests and needs of the city’s walkers, runners and cyclists, the committee advises city planners as they work toward maintaining existing, and creating new infrastructure that will conveniently and safely cater to those who use active means of transportation.

Quite frankly we have the perfect environment for active transportation for people who want to walk, run, hike or bike to and from a destination,” Support Services Manager for the City of St. George Marc Mortensen said. “We are looking for ways to improve infrastructure within our city that will accommodate those modes of transportation.”

The committee will also serve to promote active transportation, including its health benefits, within the community, Engineering Associate for the City of St. George Monty Thurber said.

“We want to focus on promoting active transportation as well as planning and developing projects,” Thurber said, “and getting the word out for people to get exercise and to kind of help educate people on how to use bike lanes and bicycle and pedestrian facilities within the city.”

The first order of business for the committee was to come up with a plan to address the lack of bike racks in the city, particularly in shopping and dining areas, where cyclists can safely and properly lock their bikes.

“Often times we can provide all the infrastructure,” Mortensen said, “but if there is no way for a person to secure their bike once they get there … in St. George it is very obvious that there is a deficit in the number of bike racks. If you want to encourage more people to bike you need to provide places for them to lock up their bike.

The committee established the downtown historical district as an area of high priority, Mortensen said. Because of its older infrastructure there are few bikes racks and shoppers and diners who commute by bike have had to resort to using trees and even garbage cans to lock their bike.

Or, like himself, Thurber said, they end up driving instead solely because there is no place to lock up a bike.

“Just having that opportunity to have bike rack at a business could make a difference,” Thurber said. “We want to do that downtown, a lot of people come into town and they want to cycle … a lot of people ride and it’s just gaining momentum.

During the meeting committee members were shown a presentation of the history of trails in St. George, beginning with the first designated trail; Temple Quarry. The presentation also gave an overview of the different trails master plans beginning with the very first one which was created in the early 1980s.

Other key information contained in the presentation showed survey results throughout the years that indicated and continue to indicate a strong desire and need in the community for a connecting trail system.

One of the biggest concerns for city planners as well as the new committee is the high cost of creating the trails and finding the funding. Information in the slideshow stated that the average cost of a mile of paved trail is $209,000 which includes bridges but not trailheads.

The primary source of funding for the trails thus far has been grants, Mortensen said.

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  • Koolaid December 12, 2014 at 10:05 am

    What ward did Pike appoint as this committee of 13. 13 apostles?

    • Ridolph December 12, 2014 at 5:46 pm

      Really is that the best you could figure from reading the article… Better get some rest you must be exhausted you are so amazingly stupid

    • Dr Phil December 12, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      I’m amazed that someone as stupid and ignorant as you can even use a phone or breathe

      • koolaid December 12, 2014 at 10:25 pm

        Well they did appoint that ole church woman who nobody voted for and she just so happens to be a member of the same church clan.

  • Dave Rabbitt December 12, 2014 at 10:58 am

    David Rabbitt Bicycles are “vehicles” – A device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway.

    If there is a big concern for the high cost of creating paved trails, then why not enforce the law that requires all cyclists to register their bicycle? A bicycle license costs $2.00

    It is in my opinion that all bicycles which may be used upon a public highway, should be required to have front and rear reflectors, a headlamp, a tail lamp and turn signal lights. And please don’t immediately start whining about the added weight, loss in aerodynamics, or complexity of adding these things. – With today’s technology, these components can be small, lightweight and rechargeable.

    Bicycles that are used upon a highway, should also be subject to the same level of concern that the State of Utah has for yearly Safety Inspection. This will ensure that cyclists have maintained their brakes, tires and lights.

    Everyone may immediately think that I’m crazy for suggesting these things. But if we’re going to spend our tax dollars to fund something for these road cyclists – Then they should be subject to the same type of licensing, registration and safety inspection fees, that an operator of a “motor” vehicle is subject to.

    Sometimes, it would seem – that St. George has “a champagne taste with a beer pocketbook”. Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote tourism specifically aimed at cyclists, is a little silly, in my book. “Sharing the road” with someone who does not follow the same “rules of the road” that I do, is a little annoying. Wondering if this new 13 member Active Transportation Committee is being paid a salary, is a little frustrating.

    Why are our tax dollars being spent, to cater to a specific group of individuals, who do not contribute to the pot?

    • Allison December 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Now you know why they are referred to as “Spandex Naziis”.

  • Ridolph December 12, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    LOL you need to get a life is all I can come up with for an answer. You need to quit watching the cartoon network put down your double quarter pounder and large fries and get off the couch and go outside and get some exercise and drop about 200 pounds. I have never read anything so stupid as your comment. Your just another one of those overweight losers that get upset because it’s legal for bicycles to be on the roadway and why my insurance rates are so high. So instead of worrying about bicycle riders get off your duff get some exercise and get a life

    • Mr. Mormon Businessman December 13, 2014 at 8:05 am

      SHADDUP STUPID! I’m eating my ice cream here, and do not want to be disturbed! 😉

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