Category Archives: Uncategorized

CLEAN SWEEP

UDOT sweepers go full force spring through fall.

Holly Wilkins, Mark Makin, JB Shandrow, Mikal Perrine and Dave Kelly operate the 'brooms' -- trucks that remove debris from roadways.

Rock chips on windshields are one of the hazards of freeway driving. Besides being dangerous, debris on interstates can also be washed off the pavement and clog culverts with sand and dirt resulting in improper drainage. Cleaning the freeway prevents UDOT maintenance crews from having to use expensive and obtrusive means – like Vactor trucks – to clear out culverts.

In order to keep safety and drainage issues in check, UDOT has sweeper trucks that make regular trips along I-15 in Salt Lake County. Lee Nitchman, Area Supervisor for UDOT says Region Two crews run brooms 6 days a week during the spring summer and fall. “They usually run them at night on the interstates and during the day on the surface streets.”

The only time the trucks are not operating is when maintenance is being performed. “Some areas of the interstate, like the Spaghetti Bowl, get swept almost nightly. We spend hundreds of thousands every year sweeping with the majority of it on the interstate,” says Nitchman.

Nitchman points out that keeping road free of gravel and dirt from dump trucks is a challenge. If those trucks are not cleaned after they are filled, they lose gravel from tailgates and fenders. “That is the biggest problem with keeping the roads clean,” he says.

EVENTS TEACH ROAD RESPECT

Events in Draper and Salt Lake this Friday and Saturday will give kids a chance to learn the Rules of the Road and have some fun too.

This family friendly ride took place on the Road Respect Tour in 2011. This year, Salt Lake Police Department will escort kids on a ride downtown.

The 2012 Road Respect Tour is trekking through Utah to promote safety and respect between cars and bikes.  After five days and 418 miles, the Tour enters the Salt Lake Valley for two events in Draper and Salt Lake City before beginning its final 100 mile stretch from SLC to Logan. Events

DRAPER RALLY

WHEN: Friday, June 8, 5 to 7 p.m.

WHERE: Draper Park, 125000 South, 1300 East

Activities include games, prizes, booths, a helmet give-away, a bike rodeo, bike decorating and a kid’s parade.

SALT LAKE CITY PRESS CONFERENCE AND RIDE-OUT – Hosted by Salt Lake City, Downtown Alliance & Visit Salt Lake

WHEN: Saturday, June 9

  • Press conference, 8 a.m.
  • Ride-out, 9 a.m.

WHERE: Downtown Farmer’s Market at Pioneer Park, 400 S 300 W corner

WHAT: Mayor Ralph Becker, SLC Police Chief Chris Burbank and SLC Transportation Director Robin Hutcheson will each give a short address on the importance of bike safety; Tommy Nankervis of the Competitive Cyclist racing team will be in attendance.

Experienced cyclists will join the Road Respect Riders from Salt Lake City to Logan. Families and those who want to stay closer to home can enjoy a special one-mile bicycle tour of downtown Salt Lake under led by Mayor Becker and escorted by SLCPD. Road Respect tour riders will start with the kids, and then continue north on their way to Logan.

MESSAGE RECEIVED

The Road Respect Tour is spreading the word about safety and helping to make Utah more bike friendly.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

“Road Respect: Cars and Bikes Rules to Live By” is a grassroots campaign that aims to educate people who drive and people who ride bicycles about the rules of the road and also encourage mutual respect so that everyone gets home safely. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Crash Summary, six bicyclists are killed and 850 are involved in crashes with motor vehicles in an average year in Utah.

UDOT, the Utah Department of Public Safety considers safety to be job one, and the Road Respect Tour is a joint effort to increase peoples’ understanding of safety issues. It’s the only tour if its kind in the United States and there is evidence that people in Utah and across the country are paying attention.

Last year, a statewide survey showed that 43% of respondents were aware of the Road Respect program. Of those respondents, 96% were aware of the Road Respect message.

Movin’ on up

The American League of Cyclists rates states according to friendliness to bicycles. In one year, Utah’s ranking moved from 31 to 13. Part of that ranking change is due to the Road Respect Tour, according to UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras who spoke at the Road Respect kick-off on Sunday. Braceras pledged UDOT’s continuing support in making the state more bike friendly. “We’re not going to stop until we’re number one,” he said.

Click to enlarge. This photo of a YMCA Bike Club was taken in downtown Salt Lake in 1906 -- Used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.

Scott Lyttle, executive director of Bike Utah, the state’s cycling advocacy organization also spoke at the kick-off. He named other efforts that have made Utah a more bicycle friendly state. Bike Utah actively supported the state’s three-foot passing law, the Share the Road program and the annual Bike Summit.

Bike power

And while the Road Respect Tour is unique to Utah, it’s certainly not the first time cyclists have spearheaded an important transportation effort. The Good Roads movement that occurred in the United States between the 1870s to the 1920s was a initially was a push to improve roads for cyclists and later cars.

Horatio Earle, known as the Father of Good Roads, wrote in his autobiography: “I often hear now-a-days, the automobile instigated good roads; that the automobile is the parent of good roads. Well, the truth is, the bicycle is the father of the good roads movement in this country.”

Earle thought that by improving roads, industry and agriculture would benefit as well.

When you ride:

  • Ride as far to the right as practicable and as road conditions allow.
  • Ride single file when impeding traffic.  This is especially important in congested conditions and on narrow, winding roads.

When you drive:

  • Broken glass, potholes, debris, parked cars, garbage cans, and drain grates can be dangerous to cyclists. Recognize these situations and give cyclists enough room to maneuver around these trouble spots.
  • Do not blast your horn when approaching a bicyclist – you could startle the rider and cause a crash.

 

ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE

For the second year, Road Respect is touring the state and seeking to be a positive influence on people who ride and drive.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

The Road Respect Tour is grass-roots effort organized by community volunteers. “It’s taken many, many hours to get to this point,” explains UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras. Months before the tires hit pavement, tour co-organizers Evelyn Tuddenham with UDOT and Kari Gibson with the Utah Highway Safety Office networked with communities throughout the state to organize Road Respect events.

Cyclists have played a very important role

Keri Gibson and Evelyn Tuddenham

The Tour includes 30 Road Respect cyclists who represent law enforcement, public safety, transportation and bicycle advocacy groups. Additional cyclists join the group for legs of the tour or to ride into their town for Road Respect events. Not only do tour cyclists volunteer their time to ride, they also to help organize stops and rallies.

Rallies and stops along the way promote respect between people who drive and people who ride bikes with games and fun activities. The events are designed to “catch the eye of the public,” says Braceras, with 40 communities and 18 events. Rallies and stops are designed to facilitate interaction at the community level; people who attend can meet the cyclists, motorists and hear the message that respect is a two way street.

When you ride:

  • Always wear a snug fitting helmet. Your helmet should sit level on your head and the chin straps should be tight when you open your mouth wide.
  • Always use lights at night and wear bright clothing that increases your visibility to motorists.

When you drive:

  • Give at least three feet of space when passing a person on a bike or more if traveling on a high speed road.
  • Broken glass, potholes, debris, parked cars, garbage cans, and drain grates can be dangerous to cyclists. Recognize these situations and give cyclists enough room to maneuver around these trouble spots.

BIKES AND CARS TOGETHER

The addition of cars to the Road Respect Tour illustrates a good point – whether riding or driving, it’s important to show respect by obeying the rules of the road.

Clyde Stauffer with the Road Respect Tour gives an interview at a press event. Stauffer helped organize the tour and is one of 30 experience cyclists who will ride over 500 miles in six days to share an important safety message.

Road Respect Tour participants are traveling around the state and seeking to be a positive influence on people who ride and drive. This year, cyclists have been joined by motorists driving replica Shelby Cobras. Some of the Rallies on the Road Respect Tour will feature mini car shows.

While the tour involves bikes and cars, there’s really one group – people. More and more Americans ride and drive for work and for fun. All people deserve to be shown respect, whatever the chosen transportation mode.  “That way, everybody wins,” said  Col. Daniel Fuhr of the Utah Highway Patrol.

It’s about saving lives

Like many Utahns, Fuhr owns a car and a bicycle and uses both for transportation and recreation. He explained his approach to safe riding and driving at a kick-off event on Sunday, June 3. When riding or driving people need to  “have respect for one another,” he explained.

Motorists driving Shelby Cobra replicas have joined the 2012 Road Respect Tour.

When riding, people need to pay attention, listen to the sounds of the roadway and look out for hazards like pot holes or debris. He urged cyclists to avoid distractions like listening to music.

When driving, people need to give cyclists adequate time to get through an intersection or make a turn, explained Fuhr. Be careful when approaching and never honk, which startles people on bikes.

Fuhr believes it’s important that all road users understand that people who ride and people who drive have the same rights and responsibilities– and without respect “tragedy will occur.”

When you ride:

Your bicycle is considered a vehicle and you have the same rights, rules and responsibilities riding as when you are driving.

Ride like you would drive – communicate with other road users by being predictable. Always make eye contact and signal your intentions prior to turning right, turning left, changing lanes or coming to a stop. Avoid swerving, riding against traffic or ignoring traffic signals and signs.

When you drive:

Watch for bicycles, motorcycles and children in traffic. They are smaller and harder to see than cars or trucks.

Don’t underestimate the speed of a bicyclist. Many cyclists can easily travel at 25-30 miles per hour. Do not pass a bicyclist on a narrow two-lane road when oncoming traffic is near.

RESPECT — GIVE IT TO GET IT

The 2012 ‘Road Respect, Cars and Bikes Rules to Live By’ tour will kick off on Sunday, June 3.

2011 Riders on the Road Respect tour -- The Road Respect message is being heard in Utah. A statewide survey shows that 43% of respondents are aware of the Road Respect program and of those respondents, 96% are aware of the Road Respect message.

Join the Department of Public Safety, UDOT and Bike Utah as a group of 30 experienced cyclists get ready to ride 518 miles in six days to spread an important safety message: Respect is a two-way street. When you give respect, you get respect. And that message is especially true on Utah’s roads where drivers and cyclists meet in potentially life-threatening situations thousands of times a day.

WHEN: Sunday, June 3, 2 p.m.
WHERE: 250 South, 600 West, at the Salt Lake City Intermodal Hub, also known as UTA’s Central Station, in the circle.

The ‘Road Respect, Cars and Bikes Rules to Live By’ program is a grassroots safety campaign that aims to educate drivers and cyclists about the rules of the road and encourage mutual respect so that everyone gets home safely. This event will be the first of many throughout the state. Touring cyclists will be joined by Shelby Cobra replica cars along the way. And, some of the events feature mini car shows.

‘Road Respect’ cyclists are touring the state and seeking to be a positive influence on people who ride and drive. Cyclists on the tour serve as a ‘moving billboard’ that demonstrates how to follow the Rules of the Road.

The Road Respect message is being heard in Utah. Last year, a statewide survey shows that 43% of respondents were aware of the Road Respect program and of those respondents, 96% were aware of the Road Respect message.

Speakers at the event will include:

  • Matt Sibul, Chief Planning Officer, Utah Transit Authority
  • Colonel Daniel Fuhr, Superintendent, Utah Highway Patrol
  • Carlos Braceras, Deputy Director, Utah Department of Transportation
  • Scott Lyttle, Executive Director, Bike Utah

For more information about the tour, visit the Road Respect website or contact Keri Gibson at 801 243-7571 or kgibson@utah.gov.

SEE THE SIGNS

UDOT is improving the safety in a location that has recently seen some tragic crashes.

State Route 201 meets SR 202 in Tooele County.

State Route 201 meets SR 202 in Tooele County. Traffic on SR 201 can be fairly heavy and fast while traffic on SR 202 is very light. Crashes that occur at the location tend to be severe due to the speeds on SR 201 and the angle of the crashes. Motorists going both directions are sometimes surprised by slower traffic entering from SR 202, and when crashes occur, cars on SR 201 hit oncoming traffic at an angle.

Alex Fisher is an intern at UDOT

A UDOT intern has researched a way to warn motorists on both routes to be aware of oncoming traffic. Her research is seeing fruition – new signs with auto-activated warning signs with flashing lights will be installed soon.

Alex Fisher is an intern soon to be Rotational Engineer at UDOT. Her assignment to find improvements for SR 201 and 202 led her to look at research done by engineers in Missouri. In an intersection with similar characteristics, auto-activated signs resulted in 51 percent reduction in crashes and a 77 percent reduction in sever angle crashes. Since Missouri has similar specifications for intersection configuration, speed and signs, Fisher believed auto-activated warning signs would work in Utah too.

Fisher proposed using LED stop signs on SR 202 and LED message signs on SR 201. UDOT Central Traffic and Safety liked her proposal and has designed the project.

Sign operation

Radar detection will trigger the lights on the signs to activate when traffic is approaching. The stop signs on SR 202 have LED lights on the perimeter. Under the stop sign, a LED message sign will display the text “cross traffic does not stop” when traffic is approaching. On SR 201, message signs with the words “watch for entering traffic when flashing.”

According to UDOT Region Two Traffic Engineer Robert Miles, Fisher did an excellent and thorough job with her research and proposal. The project was handed off to Rotational Engineer Brandon Weight for design. Check back to see an update of the project after construction.

COMMENTS, PLEASE

UDOT is currently developing the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) goal for the next three Federal fiscal years. 

The purpose of the federal government’s DBE program is to increase the number of women and minority businesses active in the highway construction industry.

The proposed DBE goal can be found on the UDOT website. Comments may be provided to UDOT by following the directions on the website.   The document will be available for review from May 15th through June 20, 2012 and comments will be accepted through July 1, 2012.

Only comments related specifically to the DBE goal and the development of the goal will be accepted.  All other UDOT or DBE-program related comments should be directed to the appropriate contact provided on the main UDOT website.

The purpose of the federal government’s DBE program is to increase the number of women and minority businesses active in the highway construction industry. The UDOT DBE Program is funded in part by FHWA. By cooperating with community partners, UDOT can help open the door to growth of small businesses, and in turn, those businesses can contribute to the economic well-being of the state.

UDOT is actively seeking to promote stakeholder participation by seeking comments on the DBE goal so that continued success within the program is maintained.

REST AREA CONFERENCE

UDOT is hosting the National Safety Rest Area Conference being held September 17 through 20 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

One of UDOT’s newest SRAs is a tribute to Utah’s railroad past. Tie Fork is modeled after a railroad round house and interpretive panels have snippets of area history.

The conference provides a venue for planners, vendors, public welcome center managers and maintenance providers from across the United States and Canada. Attendees meet and share best practices for planning, constructing and maintaining the buildings and picnic and tourism information spots that serve people who travel along the Interstate Highway system.

The NSRA is part of AASHTO’s Maintenance Sub Committee, and responsibility for organizing the conference is accomplished by state transportation agencies. This year, UDOT takes the lead with support from the Kentucky Department of Transportation. Besides breakout sessions focusing on aspects of planning and maintenance, the conference will also include a day-long tour of some of the rest areas in Utah.

The primary purpose Safety Rest Areas is to provide a place to take a break while traveling long distances. Since the Interstate system offered limited access, SRAs are a way to replace roadway parks and stores as a stopping point for travelers.

The first SRAs were built along with the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s and 60s, according to Rest Area History.org. “SRA structures and the sites on whole were to be both functionally and aesthetically satisfying, creating environments that were at once relaxing and engaging” by offering travelers a view of the local culture through architecture or even art installations. More than just a place to stop, eat and rest, “…these sites illustrate an important aspect of the American travel experience and specifically articulate our experience of travel as it was shaped by the Interstate era beginning in the 1950s.”

Like most SRAs across the country, UDOT SRAs provide the basics – toilet facilities and drinking water, and many have picnic areas and a place for travelers to pick up information about or maps of the areas. One of UDOT’s newest SRAs is a tribute to Utah’s railroad past. Tie Fork is modeled after a railroad round house and interpretive panels have snippets of area history.

CHANGING LIVES

Public transit is more about people than buses.

Todd Beutler, Cache Valley Transit District General Manager had a “changing moment” that prompted him to consider a career in public transit. As a student, he worked as a bus driver and became acquainted with an elderly man who rode the bus every day. One day, Beutler had a conversation with the man and became acutely aware of how important bus service was to his independence and quality of life.

Eight agencies in Utah provide public transit and para-transit public transportation in service areas across the state. However, some parts of the state are not covered by those service areas. The Federal Transit Administration, part of the US Department of Transportation, sponsors 21 grant programs, 6 of which are specific to special rural areas and low income, elderly and disabled citizens. In Utah, those programs are administered by the UDOT Public Transit Team staff that assist qualifying local communities to apply for and obtain funding to meet operational and capital needs.

According to the PTT Annual Report, the program allocated more than $4,733,886 in FTA grant funds to public and private agencies and organizations across the state. Many of the funds help support existing services by purchasing additional buses or equipment, such as GPS systems, that help communities expand public transit routes. The funding helps support “improved access and quality of service in urban and rural areas statewide.”

Thousands of citizens in Utah have benefited from improved public transit services. A new video details how the work of the UDOT PTT is really about people. In addition, local economies have benefited when people can connect to services, education and employment.