Ogden City rebranding itself as ‘bicycle friendly,’ now accepting project ideas

OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – The next phase of Ogden City’s rebranding project is rolling forward with an emphasis on green living and transportation.
City Council officials say becoming a true 21st century city means planning for more than aesthetics, which is why Ogden City is now becoming ‘bicycle friendly.’  From developing separate bike lanes to color coding streets, it is all part of a recently approved bicycle master plan.
“Every street in the community was looked at, the potential routes were identified,” explained Bill Cook, Executive Director of the Ogden City Council.
One area local cyclists say struggles is Madison Avenue.
“There used to be gangs,” said Bob Sawatzki, an avid cyclist proposing a new project.
Sawatzki says the street has come a long way, but still, you will find plenty of boarded up windows, neglected yards, and racing cars between the Ogden River Parkway and east bench. 
“What I’m proposing is that there’s one street where cars are going to be the visitors to that street, and the pedestrians and bikers should have the right of way,” Sawatzki explained.  
Sawatzki is asking the city to convert Madison Avenue into a ‘bicycle boulevard’ by lowering the speed limit for cars to 20 miles per hour, lighting the area, and enforcing rules to protect cyclists who say they do not feel safe.
“[There are] branches on the sidewalk that people don’t clean up or where the grass grows over the sidewalk,” added Michael Barrett, another cyclist. 
Sawatzki is also proposing reopening a forested stretch of Madison Avenue that closed down years ago due to gang activity and vandalism, officials say.  Currently, a big toppled-over tree blocks the path for cyclists.
For now, city council members say they will consider Sawatzki’s project idea.
“Over the next year, we’ll have the opportunity to fully evaluate it,” Cook explained, adding that officials have struggled to find funding for the projects already under way.
Click here for more information on the Ogden City Bicycle Master Plan.

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