HUMANS OF THE U: MARTIN CUMA

Originally posted on @theU on February 8, 2019.

“I’ve enjoyed bicycling since I was a kid, back in the Czech Republic. It provided the freedom to move around without depending on either public transit or my parents. When I moved to Salt Lake in 1998 for my postdoc it felt natural to continue riding. I save on a parking pass and car costs and it forces me to get up on my bike every morning and ride to work.

Our older daughter is 5, and she goes to the Child and Family Development Center here on Presidents Circle. We have been commuting together for about 3 years. We ride my old road bike and a used $200 Chariot trailer. When it is warmer, we switch to the Weehoo. It takes us about 25 minutes to get up here, about three miles.

Weather doesn’t impact our commute much. It’s all in the equipment. In the winter, I dress our daughter in snow pants and a warm jacket. I wear what you see in the picture with an extra sweater for the downhill ride home.

I consider myself a fearless bicyclist but riding with a kid, I’m much more aware of my surroundings. I am very sensitive to people giving us space, so please don’t pass us too close on 1500 East or Guardsman Road or block the bike lane or crosswalk.

It is a commitment to commute by bike. Sometimes I think that it would be much easier to sit in a car and drive. Still, the benefits outweigh the troubles. My exercise is that 30-40 minutes a day ride. Our daughter will grow up used to car-less transport. And I feel like I’m doing something for the common good. I see the lines of cars every morning and I wish at least a few of them would hop on a bike. That would help our air and make the streets less busy and more livable.”

—Martin Cuma, computational scientist, Center for High Performance Computing. Cuma is part of the majority of U commuters that live within a reasonable walking or biking distance to campus. Active transportation, such as biking, represents 13 percent of commuting trips. Source: U. Office of Sustainability

Active Transportation Improvements: Federal Heights Drive and North Campus Drive

Some minor intersection changes at this location are being constructed in January / February 2019 by UDOT in collaboration with Salt Lake City and the University of Utah, as a follow-up to last summer’s repaving of North Campus Drive.  The purpose of these changes is to provide a bicycle crossing of North Campus Drive while also slowing motor vehicle traffic into and out of Federal Heights Drive. The project was recommended as a high-priority improvement in the University of Utah’s Bicycle Master Plan (2011) and also in Salt Lake City’s Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan (2015).

 

This project focuses on bicycle and pedestrian safety, and includes:

  • Concrete islands to slow traffic on Federal Heights Drive, improve pedestrian safety, and also provide a bicycle waiting area for the North Campus Drive crossing.
  • A bicycle-specific cut in the concrete median, and a bicycle ramp to the University’s multi-use path on the south side of North Campus Drive.
  • A new, painted pedestrian crosswalk across Federal Heights Drive, just north of the new islands. 

 

What to expect:

  • Motorists turning onto Federal Heights Drive from North Campus Drive will need to slow down for this turn, as appropriate to entering a neighborhood.
  • Bicyclists crossing North Campus Drive will yield to cross traffic.
  • There are no additional changes to motor vehicle traffic patterns.