Jan and I took the FrontRunner from Ogden to Farmington yesterday for a little bicycle exploration. Our objective was to ride the Legacy Parkway and do a little exploring along the way.
Farmington is a suburb of Salt Lake City. It’s located at the chokepoint between the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Range in the crowded I-15 corridor about 17 miles north of the state capital. Although the community is not listed as a bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists, it probably should be. There’s a lot to like about Farmington.
As I’ve written previously, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) has roll on service for bicycles on FrontRunner trains. This is part of UTAs focus on encouraging transit use, and it makes it very easy to use the train to extend the range of the bicycle. I’ve ridden to Farmington from our Ogden home before, but it’s a 60 mile roundtrip with some climbing and Jan didn’t want to go that far. The train is a perfect alternative.
Farmington’s FrontRunner station is indicative of what much of Utah and other suburban places might look like in the not-too-distant future. It is wedged between a clogged interstate highway (there was a wreck that backed it up for miles) and a multi use bicycle path that serves as a transportation reliever to the highway. There are a number of additional sidepaths that connect the rest of the community to the main trail.
The FrontRunner station is connected to a mixed use development that includes a variety of shopping and dining choices. Interestingly enough, the development is named Station Park. It’s not just shopping, either. Forward looking companies like Pluralsoft are headquartered here, giving their employees true transportation choice. Directly across the highway is Lagoon, the Wasatch Front’s only themed amusement park. It is easily accessible by bicycle.
It was Saturday afternoon and Station Park with its acres of parking was jammed with cars. Even so, we were able to easily navigate the busy lots to various stores on bicycles. That’s primarily because most motorists are used to seeing a lot of bicycles here and exercised appropriate levels of caution and consideration.
To me, Farmington is a good example of what a bedroom community can be, transportation-wise, if it makes good choices. I get the feeling that anyone who wants to use a bicycle for basic transportation needs could do so here with minimal hassles. It’s a shame more don’t. Maybe they will in the not-too-distant future.