August 27, 2021 – On Monday, August 30, Salt Lake City will hold its likely first ever Complete Streets Commitee Meeting for the purpose of creating a post hoc justification of what we believe to be an illegal decision to not include a bicycle way on 100 S in the current street reconstruction.
The reconstruction is happening from 900 E to University St, and despite being funded by public bond money, and having a Complete Streets Ordinance that mandates bike facilities on the roadway, and despite there being room for safer conditions for cyclists, Mayor Mendenhall’s administration is moving ahead with a bike unsafe, high speed design for the roadway. We first raised this issue in 2019 in an editorial stating the Salt Lake City is set to violate the Complete Streets Ordinance on 100 S.
We have sent numerous emails to Salt Lake City Transportation Director Jon Larsen. He has responded that there would not be enough room for bike lanes and that they cannot do a road diet because it’s a route to the University Medical Complex. The responses and justifications for those responses have been vague, and non-specific. Our emails have prompted Salt Lake City to have, as far as we know, their first ever Complete Streets Committee Meeting in the 12 years since the ordinance was enacted. Clearly the city is aware that they are not doing the right thing.
How to Comment and Participate:
What can you do? If you can, please attend the virtual meeting at 9 am on Monday morning (details in the link) August 30. You can also email the Complete Streets Committee with comments prior to the meeting: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Ask Salt Lake City for a bicycle safe, lower speed, complete street on 100 S. See our comments below for talking points. Please feel free to use any of this that you like for your email.
You can sign our petition (edit the text if you want), which will send the email below to the Complete Streets Committee:
Cycling Utah’s Comments to Salt Lake City on 100 S:
I am asking that you make travel on this street safer for cyclists and add additional measures to slow traffic speeds.
The plans in place are unsafe for cyclists in that they do not include bike lanes, a shared bike/parking lane, a safety lane, or a road diet. It’s clear that SLC did not follow the Complete Streets Ordinance on 100 S, despite using Funding Our Future Bond money for the project.
The Complete Streets Ordinance states:
All city owned transportation facilities in the public right of way on which bicyclists and pedestrians are permitted by law, including, but not limited to, streets, bridges, and all other connecting pathways, shall be designed, constructed, operated, and maintained so that users, including people with disabilities, can travel safely and independently. (Ord. 4-10 § 1, 2010)
Additionally, it states:
A. Bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be established in the city’s new construction and reconstruction projects in the public right of way, subject to budget limitations, unless one or more of the following three (3) exemption conditions is met:…
(Note that SLC does not meet any of these exemption conditions.)
The design put forth for 100 S does not allow cyclists to travel safely. It needs to allow this. It will be better with the bulbouts for pedestrians, however your design will be worse than the existing condition for cyclists for a number of reasons. The current speed 85th percentile is approximately 39 mph. The new design will do little to slow this.
But it could with a few small changes.
1. A road diet with bike lanes. The traffic volume on 100 S, ~13000/day, is low enough to justify a road diet. This would provide room for bike lanes. Emergency vehicles can easily use the center turn lane.
2. 10’ lanes throughout and bike lanes. If you use the 2’ gutter as part of the parking area (like you have on 1100 E) and/or the bike lane (as on 1300 E), this provides room for 7’ parking area and 5’ bike lanes (assuming a 64’ curb to curb area, including the gutter). Note that 300 E has 4’ bike lanes; as do other streets in the city.
3. 10’ lanes throughout and a shared bike/parking lane. This is similar to what Denver and Berkeley do. The current parking utilization on 100 S works for this option.
Denver includes this in their Bikeway plan. See page 32.
Many other communities like Hartford, CT, Carbondale CO, Manteca, CA, Chicago, IL etc. use shared bike and parking lanes. While not ideal, they are a better solution than nothing at all.
Berkeley Shared Bike/Parking Lane:
4. If you don’t want to follow these other cities examples, you could at least stripe all traffic lanes at 10’ and thus leave a safety/parking lane. This would provide some refuge for cyclists and would slow motor vehicles too.
The design put forth by Salt Lake City does not comply with the Complete Streets Ordinance, and is less safe for cyclists than the current design. Please make some adjustments to make this street safe for cyclists to travel on.
These adjustments, particularly the bike lanes and 10’ travel lanes will make conditions better for the residents of 100 S too as they will slow traffic down.
Lastly, in our world of global warming/climate change, the details matter. Every single project must be viewed with the lens of reducing fossil fuel usage. Bike safety on 100 S would do just that.
Please seize this and every opportunity to transform Salt Lake City’s Transportation System. The safety and health of all of us is counting on that.