2013 is the year of the bike for Salt Lake City. That's one commitment Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker outlined in his annual state of the city address last night.
Using the human body as a metaphor, Becker likened Salt Lake City's transportation system to a healthy bloodstream. He noted, by the end of this year, Salt Lake City will see the largest expansion of an urban rail system in the nation, with the new Frontrunner and Airport TRAX lines. Becker added, in 2012 Salt Lake City increased the number of bikeways, added cycle tracks and connected the Jordan River trail to Davis county. But he says that's just the beginning.
“You'll see a whole new level of improvement to increase education, participation and safety for all travelers,” Becker said.
Becker announced Salt Lake City will launch a new bike share program this Spring; the first of it's kind in the Western United States. The program will include a network of touch screen bike screen stations, stocked with bikes to check out day and night. The mayor hopes these efforts will help motivate residents to drive less and play a role in improving poor air quality in the region.
“We will continue to address aggressive measures in transit, bikes, pedestrian access, idle free initiatives and clear the air efforts and work regionally and with other jurisdictions to address other shared challenges," Becker said.
Becker compared Salt Lake City residents to the muscle of the body, announcing new initiatives to strengthen health and wellness. He says this year the city will expand urban farming and preserve more open space.
“The overarching goal is to develop a sustainable and equitable local food system, capable of providing healthy food, food that literally builds the muscles of all city residents," Becker said.
He ended his address by thanking Salt Lake City Councilman Carlton Christensen and Councilwoman Jill Remington Love for their years of service. The two will not seek re-election this year.