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Sports & Recreation

St. George bicyclists push for Complete Streets policy

st. george biker
Lexi Peery
/
KUER
People riding bikes along one of St. George’s Virgin River trails. Advocates applaud the work the city has done for bicyclists, but want them to do more.

St. George bicyclists packed the city council meeting Thursday night to thank leaders for new buffered lanes that recently opened in the downtown area. They also called on them to do more to make streets safer.

Southern Utah Bicycle Alliance and other community members are asking the city council to pass a Complete Streets policy by the end of the year. It would require the city to think about all modes of transportation — like bikes, scooters and wheelchairs — when constructing new roads.

Kye Nordfelt, president of SUBA, said the policy would help the city think of the needs of people of all ages and abilities.

“At the heart of it is trying to get your son or daughter to school safely,” Nordfelt said. “It’s trying to ... help the seniors in our community easily bike to go shopping or to go to a restaurant, or to help people that are wanting to bike to work have a safe, enjoyable ride where a car isn’t whizzing right by their ear. The more safe we can make it, the more people we’ll see do that.”

Advocates say St. George’s climate and trails make it an ideal place for active transportation.

Taylor Richards said he bikes to his job on Tech Ridge every day. He grew up in the area and remembers bikers could mostly use trail systems along the Virgin River. He said since returning to the area two years ago, he’s seen chances for riding in St. George increase exponentially.

“So much of our market and like our image is being a tourism place for outdoor type people, as well as the people that live in the city,” Richards said. “Having the opportunity to bike as both recreation and utility — that’s where our brand is, that’s where we need to invest.”

Assistant City Manager Marc Mortensen agrees active transportation is a brand for St. George. He said that’s something the city has been thinking about for “decades.”

“St. George was the first city in the state of Utah to implement [paved multi-use] trail systems,” he said. “Now we're taking it a step further and trying to connect those trail systems to places where people work, where they go to school, where they play, where they want to dine.”

Mortensen said the community is “incredibly conducive” to all forms of transportation. Now, they must take that to the next level. He said the council will be discussing the Complete Streets policy soon.

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