Raise Your Hand If You Love Traffic

I am going to assume that you did not raise your hand. Because, who actually has any level of affinity toward traffic? I think it is safe to say that traffic is one of the most frustrating phenomenons on the planet. It is the year 2023 already. We should have flying cars by now. Which begs the question: Why do we continue to put up with traffic? and, Why do we continue to allow traffic to thrive?

When people live within a reasonable walking or cycling distance of everything they need, the requirement of having an automobile disappears. When automobiles disappear, so does traffic.


Automobile traffic in the United States of America has been growing for one hundred years now. It started way back in the time of the horse-drawn carriage, or at the end of the time of the horse-drawn carriage. It was the time of the industrial revolution.

Factories were everywhere and people worked in those factories. Many of those people lived near the factories and would get sick. Some smart people realized that the exhaust from the factories probably had a significant impact on the health of the people working in and living near the factories. This led to the idea of creating settlements away from those factories. Thus the housing subdivision was born. Housing developments that were far enough away from factories to keep people from getting sick.

Along with subdivisions came zoning laws. We needed to make sure that people did not live next to dangerous factories. And since we were separating housing from places of work, it only made sense to separate everything else that people needed to get to: schools, groceries, medical facilities, hair salons, etc.

With everything separated, people needed to be able to get from place to place. Since the housing areas were now too far for people to conveniently walk or cycle to, the car was the obvious tool for the job. This ushered in the era of car culture, where every aspect of our city infrastructures became inseparably dependent on the needs of the automobiles that people were using.

Those housing subdivision design concepts and zoning laws that were created almost a century ago live on today in almost every city in America. Another name for these concepts is “urban sprawl“. Springville (and Mapleton), although a smaller and supposedly more quiet town, has not escaped this sprawling design. Urban sprawl is part of “The American Dream“.

Traffic is a result of infrastructure design. Infrastructure design, especially the transportation aspects, affects every part of our lives. Springville (and every other sprawling city) was designed to embrace and encourage automobile traffic.

How can a mixed use development help fix the traffic problems in Springville, Utah?

The mixed use development is an echo out of human history. I am fond of telling people that there are park benches in Europe that are older than The United States of America. We see younger generations of people growing up with a disregard and great disrespect for their elders. In similar fashion we, the descendants of pioneers and colonists who came from Europe, seem to have a similar disregard and even disrespect for where we have come from.

Europe has thousands of years of experience that could be tapped into, if we were willing. Although Europe had the advantage of growing up without the automobile, we can still learn much from how their city infrastructures developed. One of the most common developments that can be seen in Europe is the mixed use development.

The magic of the mixed use building is that it eliminates the need for zoning or urban sprawl. In one building there can be a place of work as well as a place of housing. In a mixed use building next door, there can be a grocery store, as well as a place of housing. In yet another mixed use building on the other side, there can be a bank, or a health clinic, or school, or a barber shop, or a restaurant, with people living above those businesses.

When people live within a reasonable walking or cycling distance of everything they need, the requirement of having an automobile disappears. When automobiles disappear, so does traffic.

Even Springville has a history of employing the mixed use building. Main Street has several buildings that were built for mixed use. Most notable is the H. T. Reynolds & Co. building. It is currently home to a restaurant on the bottom with a couple of floors above it for other uses.

The mixed use development is not the silver bullet that will put traffic out of our collective misery. And certainly one mixed use building will not solve the problem either. However, it is a step in the correct direction.

Other steps include: re-evaluating city approval of urban sprawl developments, parking minimums, redesigning roads with people as the priority and cars as a secondary, redesigning sidewalks to accommodate more people being able to walk and talk side by side, creating walkways that are beautiful and desirable, integrating more ART into more parts of the infrastructure of “Art City“, etc., etc.

What does this have to do with bicycles?

Bicycles are an amazing tool. At one time thought to be surpassed by the automobile, many are now realizing that the bicycle was not surpassed, it was overlooked. The bicycle is a far more friendly vehicle than the automobile. The bicycle does not have astronomical number of pedestrian deaths associated with it. The bicycle costs far less than an automobile. The bicycle provides physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual exercise. And above all, the bicycle is not a major contributor to automobile traffic.

Mountain Bike Update

We have some exciting progress to report! First, the Hobble Creek Bicycle Association was recently given a $250 Clean Trail Project grant from ExtremeTerrain! ExtremeTerrain is primarily for off-road Jeep enthusiasts, but they are active in supporting the full range of trails and users and we very much appreciate their contribution. Check them out here:

With this grant we were able to purchase several tools that will help us keep our local trails well maintained for mountain bikers and other users. Here is our new collection:

I can guarantee that these tools won’t just be sitting in the garage! In fact, we are having an HCBA Trail Maintenance Day coming up Wednesday, May 31. Meet at 6:00pm at the dirt parking lot on Canyon Road just above Bartholomew Park for a quick orientation and then we’ll work until we’re tired or it gets dark. There is lots of work to be done on a new trail just cut by Blazing Trails, our local professional trail builder, with funding from the 2022 UORG Grant, the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, and fundraising done by the HCBA. So bring some gloves and any trailbuilding tools you have and don’t forget some water! Here are a few pics from the new trail–it’s going to be awesome!

In other news, the city contractor continues to make progress on the bike park in Spring Creek Canyon. Please continue to be patient as they finish up their work on it this summer. And good news! Springville City was awarded a substantial UORG grant this year to make the upper and lower bike park an amazing community resource. Here are a picture of the ongoing construction area–I’m stoked to see this copmleted!

Electric Bikes And Motor Assisted
Scooters — What is The Law?

(Excerpt from the Springville City Source newsletter Summer 2022.)

Here are some important State of Utah laws governing things that are fun to ride. Please stay safe.

(2) A person under eight years of age may not operate a motor assisted scooter with the motor running on any public property, highway, path, or sidewalk.
(3) A person may not operate a motor assisted scooter:
	(e) at a speed of greater than 15 miles per hour or in violation of Subsection 41-6a-1115.1(3).

Source: Utah Code Title 41 Chapter 6a Part 11 Section 1115

An individual under 16 years old may not operate a class 3 electric assisted bicycle, which is an electric assisted bicycle equipped with motor or electronics that: Provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling; ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches
the speed of 28 miles per hour; and is equipped with a speedometer.

(5) An individual under 14 years old may not operate an electric assisted bicycle with the electric motor engaged on any public property, highway, path, or sidewalk unless the individual is under the direct supervision of the individual's parent or guardian.
(6) An individual under eight years old may not operate an electric assisted bicycle with the electric motor engaged on any public property, highway, path, or sidewalk.

Source: Source: Utah Code Title 41 Chapter 6a Part 11 Section 1115.5

As a general rule, in order to legally drive a motor vehicle on a roadway, the vehicle must be registered and equipped with all required safety equipment (headlamps, tail lamps, license plate, turn signals, horn, and a lot more). Go-karts are typically not street legal.

(1) A person operating a bicycle or a vehicle or device propelled by human power shall:
	(a) yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian; and
	(b) give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.

Source: Utah Code Title 41 Chapter 6a Part 11 Section 1106

Annual Meeting and Elections

On Thursday October 27 at 7:00pm we will be holding our annual meeting and elections for the board of directors at the Snelson PhotoColor Lab in Springville. The following positions are available if you are interested in helping to shape the future of cycling in Springville and Mapleton: executive director, secretary, advocacy director, road biking director, family biking director, mountain biking director, bicycle maintenance director, and publicity director. We will also be talking about various projects currently underway to improve cycling in all its varities in our communities. Hope to see you there!

Mountain Bike Fundraiser Breakfast

This Saturday at 8:00am we will be holding a fundraiser breakfast–pancakes, bananas, and juice–to raise money to continue building new trails at the mouth of Hobble Creek Canyon. A suggested donation for the pancake breakfast is $10. The event will be at the Garth Killpack gun range, but if coming by vehicle you will need to park elsewhere (the upper Bartholomew lot or along Canyon Road above the gun range) and ride in. After breakfast we will be riding the new 1-mile loop at the base of the canyon called “Rabbitbrush”. It is a beginner trail and fun for all ages and abilities. We will also have HCBA t-shirts for sale and proceeds from donations from breakfast and the t-shirts will help in building two additional trail options. Please RSVP if you plan on coming. We hope to see you there!

Bike with the Mayor

Also this Saturday but at 10:30 (so you could do both!) is Springville’s annual Bike with the Mayor event at the grassy area next to city hall. The HCBA will be there with a booth and Griffin Park of Jolly Circle Bike Shop will have a maintenance stand up and running for some quick tune and lubes. There will be food, swag, and bicycle registration provided by Springville CIty. And after the group ride, complete with police escort, there will be lunch and the grand opening of the splash pad. 

Road Ride Next Saturday

Next Saturday, the 21st, bike month continues with Mike Snelson’s semi-monthly group road ride. We’ll meet at the front entrance of Springville High School at 8:00am and head out for 30-40 miles of nice morning riding.

Screening of Motherload

Also next Saturday, at 6:00pm at the Springville library, the HCBA will be putting on a screening of Motherload, an award-winning documentary about families —especially moms— saving money and finding increased happiness and fulfillment by using cargo bikes for everyday transportation. If you dislike traffic, or dread the school drop-off line, or hate paying high gas prices, or wish your kids could safely cross the street, this film is for you! Before the movie there will be a Cargo Bike Roundup in the parking lot where you can check out a variety of cargo bikes and ebikes. Come test ride cargo bikes, get inspired by the film, and meet local families who are replacing car trips with bicycles rides. This event is entirely free and family-friendly. Bicycling to the event is encouraged but not required.

Upcoming Events – Road Ride and Monthly Meeting

On Saturday, April 2, we’ll be meeting at 9:00am at the main entrance to Springville High School and doing just a quick and easy jaunt to the end of the Mapleton Lateral Canal Trail and back. We will be doing road rides every first and third Saturday to each month from now until September or so, so come out and meet some fellow roadies!

Our next association meeting will be April 13 at 6:00pm at the Snelson PhotoColor Lab. We will be talking mostly about Bike Month, which is May. We are planning road rides, a mountain bike ride and fundraiser, a family ride, Springville’s Bike with the Mayor event, a movie screening of Motherlode, and more. Come meet up with your fellow cycling enthusists and help us plan these fun events!

Photo from one of our road rides last year

New Wayfinding Signs at the Hobble Creek MTB Trails

I had a lovely time mountain biking this evening at the new trail system that we are building at the mouth of Hobble Creek Canyon. The trails were in good shape after winter, with minimal damage from equestrian users and nice grippy dirt. I appreciated the new wayfinding signs that Chris Morrill got from the DWR–we installed the posts last Fall but had been waiting for the stickers. The bigger news is that we recently submitted a UORG application for funding to expand the trail system, including a black diamond line up and around the hill overlooking the current trail and blue line down below.

First Meeting of 2022

March 3 at 6:00pm at the Snelson ColorPhoto Lab is the time and place for our first monthly meeting of 2022. Come help us plan some activities and service projects for the year and tell us what you would like to see happen bike-wise in Springville and Mapleton. We hope to see you there!