Advocacy Alert: Big Cottonwood Canyon Mobility Plan Doesn’t Address Cycling


March 29, 2023 — Utah’s Central Wasatch Commission yesterday released the Draft Big Cottonwood Mobility Plan. With Mobility in the title, it seems as though cycling, walking, and running should be included. Unfortunately, improvements for these modes of active transportation are not addressed.

Big Cottonwood Canyon is heavily used by cyclists, runners, and walkers in the summer months. The shoulders are too narrow, and were not improved the last time the canyon was repaved. Running and cycling races are held yearly in the canyon. Ironically, and sadly, the shoulders by Solitude were narrowed, despite the fact that this was near the location where Josie Johnson was killed in 2004 by an inattentive driver.

Cyclists’ comments are needed by April 17, 2023. Information on how to comment and our comments are below.

The plan is available here: Big Cottonwood Canyon Mobility Action Plan 

From the website, to comment: “You may submit comments on the BCC MAP in various ways: by completing the comment form below, by sending a comment to [email protected], or by sending a written letter to the CWC office at: 41 N. Rio Grande Street, Ste 102, SLC, UT 84101.”

Our comments (feel free to borrow or add to these):

Dear CWC,
After looking through the BCC mobility plan, it seems like it’s solely focused on cars and buses.
Why is there little to no mention of improvements for cyclists, pedestrians, and runners? This is really not a good plan if you don’t include mobility for active transportation.

For example, you could work on the shoulder striping throughout the canyon to improve things for the above active transportation users.

Particularly, when the road was last repaved, the shoulder was narrowed near Solitude, leaving less room for active transportation. Ironically, and sadly, this is near the spot where Josie Johnson was killed by an inattentive driver in 2005.

You really need to look at improvements for all user groups and not release this plan in a final form until you have done so.

Some suggestions:
1. Look at the plan that the Big Cottonwood Community Council had from several years ago.
2. Look for any restriping possibilities to make things safer for active transportation.
3. Reduce the speed limit to make things safer for active transportation.
4. Make sure that summer transit for mountain bikers is available for those that would like to ride Solitude or Brighton would be a good addition. See what Park City has done with transit for mountain biking.
5. Add the Canyon Climb Signs that myself and Salt Lake City’s Tom Millar have been working on would be a good addition too. Cost for this is minimal.
6. Make the intersection of Ft. Union and Wasatch Safer for cyclists.
7. Improve the striping on Wasatch near BCC. It was narrowed recently, and is not ideal for cyclists.

Please do better.

Dave Iltis
Cycling Utah & Cycling West

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