OGDEN -- Ogden area cyclists and pedestrians have a new advocate working with the state as Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell will chair Utah's Active Transportation Committee next year.
Caldwell, an active cyclist who has publicly declared he will bike to work every day in 2014, will replace Davis County Commissioner Louenda Downs as chair of the committee.
The committee was created last year by the Wasatch Front Regional Council, the state's long-range transportation planning arm. It's composed of local elected officials from around the state, officials from the Utah Department of Transportation, the Utah Transit Authority and Utah Department of Health.
WFRC spokesman Sam Klemm said the committee focuses on needs and policy recommendations for pedestrian and bicycle facilities and other alternative transportation modes across the Wasatch Front.
The policy recommendations will be presented to the regional council as they consider future updates to the transportation system.
Caldwell said active transportation planning which includes things like bicycle lanes, trails and pedestrian walkways not only help reduce traffic congestion and make for cleaner air, but it also makes for more vibrant, well-rounded communities.
"There is a paradigm shift happening (when it comes to creating vibrant communities)," Caldwell said. "And it doesn't include more parking stalls and parking garages. Sometimes there are better ways to get from point A to point B than just hopping in your car."
Caldwell said that transportation planning in Ogden, must include alternative to the car.
"If you look at Weber State (University) for example, they've added about 10,000 students in the past 10 years and haven't built an additional parking stall," he said. "And that's kind of the direction things in the transportation world are taking. There's going to be more focus on walking and cycling and using mass transit."
And Caldwell isn't the only one speaking of the values of active transportation.
Earlier this week Gov. Gary Herbert issued an inversion alert and asked Utahns to take part in the state's "Utah Clean Air Partnership" challenge.
The UCAIR challenge consists of three strategies:
* At home: Install a programmable thermostat and set the temperature to be two degrees cooler when you're away.
* At work: Carpool, take public transit or telecommute.
* In the community: Stop idling and start moving. UCAIR says cars warm up best on the go and with no idling, a significant amount of emissions are eliminated.
Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.