Father helps bring changes to Timpview Drive to protect kids
PROVO, Utah — A father’s yearslong effort to change Timpview Drive and improve his kids route to school could finally be paying off after Provo City agreed to collect feedback on temporary changes.
Timpview Drive sits north of the Brigham Young University campus, passing neighborhoods and several schools. It was set up the way you might expect, with parking next to the curb and a bike lane up against traffic which runs in one lane in either direction.
But not long after moving to the area, Brian Henrie’s son came home after a close call while riding in the bike lane. Henrie is not sure whether the driver was distracted but says the car veered into the bike lane.
Henrie says drivers tend to speed down the 25 mph road, passing cyclists and many pedestrians who he says prefer taking the road because of some narrow sidewalks.
“I actually don’t allow [my son] to ride his bike to school anymore because I’m afraid of how fast the cars drive with the bike lane right next to that traffic,” said Henrie, who is also a landscape architect and land planner. “It just concerned me too much that he walks to school, I won’t let him bike.”
A close call with a car and a kid prompted one dad to push for changes to Timpview Dr in Provo. 4 years later and with the help of Bike Walk Provo, the road has a new look. And @provocity wants feedback to know if the changes should be permanent. @KSL5TV at 6. pic.twitter.com/z9TEllQWmp
— Matt Rascon (@MattRasconNews) May 9, 2022
Thus began a yearslong effort to make changes to the road to protect the many students who use it to and from school each day.
Some have criticized the effort, he said, because there haven’t been any cyclists who have died on the road. To that, Henrie said, “I figured we needed to do something before somebody got hurt, not after.”
Henrie worked with the nonprofit Bike Walk Provo to convince Provo City to agree to temporary changes to the road, before a scheduled repaving in June.
“This street has been this way for many, many years,” said Christine Frandsen, executive director of Bike Walk Provo. “So we have this one-month time period to say, ‘What if it was different? What if we had this option? What if we had that option?’”
Last Friday, they started work on the project, blotting out the bike lane lines and repainting to push the bike lane up to the curb and bring the street parking lane up against traffic. They put in rubber curbing to deter cars from cutting into the walking and bike lanes at one intersection and even added a round-about at a different intersection.
Several fake trees also decorate the road where cars can park in between.
“Our hope is that users of this street can see new ways that this street could be used to increase safety and also create a more enjoyable experience for all the people using it — from cars to cyclists to pedestrians,” Frandsen said.
Frandsen said Provo overall has made big changes to make the city more bike and pedestrian friendly over the last decade. But she says there’s always more that can be done to places like Timpview.
The city helped provide some materials and signs along the street to give people in the area an opportunity to give feedback on the changes. The city will collect that feedback over the next month before they repave the road in June. It will then determine whether those changes will become permanent.
“If this was the standard across the road, I’d have no problem,” Henrie said.
Henrie said they had received some negative feedback from drivers of large trucks and trailers who had trouble navigating the round-about. But Henrie said a permanent round-about would solve the problem that the rubber curbs are creating for some.
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