The Salt Lake County Council, in a preliminary vote on Tuesday approved a resolution to launch a motorist and bicyclist safety study of Emigration Canyon Road. Parties involved say the tension between cyclists and drivers has come to a head.
Emigration canyon’s proximity to downtown Salt Lake City and the grand views make it one of the most heavily used canyons in Utah by bicyclists.
For the same reasons, the canyon is also inviting to motorists… who live and recreate there as well.
Rick Raile is a 20-year-resident of Emigration Township and chair of the community council.
“Over the years, we’ve had a lot of confrontation with bicyclists and canyon residents,” Raile says. And I’m just looking for solutions so they can co-exist.”
The resolution calls for the formation of a working group made up of canyon residents like Raile, cyclists, and motorists that will look at options like widening parts of the road, adding bike lanes, and improving signage.
Patrick Leary’s job, as Salt Lake County township executive is to look out for the interests of unincorporated areas of Salt Lake County, including Emigration Township. He’ll be heading up the working group, which will take eight months to study the issue.
“But what we want to do is be thorough about this,” Leary says. “I envision getting some engineering consultant on board to take a look at the canyon top to bottom and give us some best practices and some ideas about what we can do and then we’ll go find some money somewhere and start making those improvements.”
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says Emigration Canyon will be the laboratory to figure out how to deal with similar tension in other canyons like Millcreek.