Weeklong campaign encourages bike use | ParkRecord.com

Weeklong campaign encourages bike use

When it comes to Summit County’s traffic issues, who’s to blame? Government leaders have been increasingly saying the finger should be directly pointed at residents.

"One of the big things about it is, a lot of the time, we blame tourists for bringing traffic problems and being the fault of our congestion," said Stuart Johnson, Park City’s trails and open space project coordinator. "But it is actually a lot of us who are coming into work and driving every day. A huge part of being part of the solution is starting to use this incredible infrastructure that we have here with our trails, pathways, buses and the walkability of Park City. It could make such a difference if we all embraced it."

To further encourage the utilization of alternative forms of transportation, Summit County and Park City will be hosting a weeklong Bike to Work challenge beginning this Monday, May 23. The campaign will culminate on Friday, May 27, at 7:30 a.m., with a free breakfast provided by the Park City Chamber of Commerce at the Olympic Welcome Plaza on Kearns Boulevard.

Officials have recently launched several campaigns about reducing the number of cars on the road, including the film screening of ‘Bikes vs Cars’ and Ride On. Caroline Ferris, Summit County’s Regional transportation director, said the movie and Ride On campaign were scheduled in anticipation of Bike to Work week.

"That’s why we picked to show it when we did so we could get people excited," Ferris said. "We’ve been building up to this and we are just asking people to try it once and see what it is like. It’s all wrapped into our ‘Ride On’ and get out of your car."

Ferris said living near Kimball Junction and working in Coalville creates an issue when she wants to get out of her car.

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"I have a unique perspective and I’m right there in the same boat with everyone else. But I am making a conscious effort," Ferris said. "Today I decided instead of driving into Coalville to work from home. When I had errands to run I walked from my house to the post office and other places. That’s my way of contributing once a week.

"I think the best thing we can do is lead by example and document what we are doing," she added.

Bike to School Day

In addition to promoting cycling to work, the campaign will also target and encourage children to Bike to School on Friday, May 27. Bike to School Day will feature event tables, giveaways and safety demonstrations at Trailside, Jeremy Ranch, Parley’s Park and McPolin elementary schools.

Each school is scheduled to arrange remote areas where children and their parents can meet with fellow staffers and members of the Park City Police Department to bike to school as a group. Safety demonstrations are scheduled to take place between 12:45 p.m. and 3 p.m.

McPolin Elementary School Principal Bob Edmiston said the school takes advantage of the opportunity to talk about bike safety, adding that "a lot of families commute back and forth already on bikes."

"We probably have less than 20-25 kids who ride the bus," Edmiston said. "They are either taking a bike, a skateboard or a scooter so we like to promote this. It gets everyone involved in the activity."

Edmiston attributed participation and support of this event to the community’s healthy lifestyle. He said "a lot of us are bike riders and use bikes to get around when the weather allows it."

"I probably have about 40-50 bikes out on my bike rack right now," Edmiston said on Thursday. "I think students might be on their bikes riding more if we gave them proper training. With this, we are just exposing them to all of those things and making it cool. It’s also important to have adults doing the same activities."

For more information about Bike to Work Week and Bike to School Day, visit Park City’s website at http://www.parkcity.org/Home/Components/News/News/9112/23?backlist=%2f . For more information about Summit County’s Ride On campaign, visit the homepage of the county’s website at http://summitcounty.org/.