In 2015, SUBA approached Washington City to help them achieve the Road Respect Community Designation. Working with the Washington City Police Department and the city’s parks & rec department, Washington City achieved Level 1-Activate Designation and began working towards Level 2. Because of Road Respect, we’re seeing positive change in Washington City concerning cycling and active transportation. Two projects that have huge potential to impact the community are the health impact assessment and redrafting the city’s master plan with a focus on active transportation
In the past, Washington City did not have a history of being particularly ‘bike friendly’ and some previous discussions with city staff left us feeling that cyclists weren’t welcome on city roads, which made the city’s support for Road Respect particularly gratifying. Road Respect brought cycling/active transportation to the city’s attention and I believe, opened the door for the S.W. Utah Public Health Dept. to attain their support for conducting an HIA for their community. The HIA for Washington City is not only a benefit for them, but will serve as a template for doing other HIAs, specifically for Washington County as part of the Road Respect County Designation.
One of the steps the city is taking in conjunction with the HIA, is creating a local community Active Transportation Committee. This committee will help guide & broaden the scope of the HIA. St. George City is the only community in Washington County with an Active Transportation Committee so it’s exciting to see Washington City move in that direction and we believe can set a model for other communities to follow.
Other good news coming from Washington City is the city council’s desire to create a bicycle friendly community as part of their long-term goals. At a retreat for city council members last fall to discuss Washington City’s future, cycling was a topic that garnered a lot of interest. From reports received from other staff members, the city council sees cycling as an economic asset as well as a community quality of life issue. After talking with newly elected Washington city council member, Kolene Granger, it appears Washington City sees the value in creating the infrastructure to make cycling safe, accessible and appealing for both locals and tourists. Washington City is a major transportation corridor in the county and including safe and convenient walking and biking facilities in their master planning for future transportation projects benefits not only city residents, but residents throughout the county.
Overall, it has been extremely gratifying to see the shift in Washington City toward cycling. We’ve taken one of the least supportive communities and introduced them to resources and tools that will help them, if they wish to do so, create a safer, healthier, more livable and family friendly community.