What It Takes to Become a Bike-Friendly University
In the past year, steps have been taken. But are they enough?
Bicycle-Friendly University - it's an award of recognition created by the League of American Bicyclists, a national organization. In a previous post, we detailed the responses that we got from various FIU administrators and staff members about certain changes that would need to be made in order for FIU to become eligible for this award - the overall response was either one of indifference or one of opposition.
Although this may still be the overall vibes emanating from the individuals in question, things are slowly changing for the better. Shortly after our previous BFU post, I, with the assistance of Ryan Vogel, FIU's nature preserve manager, composed a list of areas around campus that needed more bike racks, a list that was to be forwarded to the parking department. At the beginning of the fall semester, we finalized this list and sent it over. Early this Spring, to our content, we saw most of the identified locations adorned with a new bike rack (some of which have quickly filled up).
More bike parking, although a big and necessary step for eligibility and to free up parking spaces for cars, is simply not enough to be called a bike-friendly campus. Things are certainly different from what they were five years ago, but there is still a signification amount of work that needs to be done:
What has been done:
-Added bike racks (and some with pumps)
-Established a cycling team
-Established a 'center' for bike repairs (as unofficial as it may be)
-Created an up-to-date map with bike rack locations
-Have a place to shower aside from the rec center (CBC locker rooms on the main campus, first floor restrooms in the Wolfe Center at BBC)
-Established a Community Traffic Safety Team (to evaluate improvements needed to prevent crashes on campus)
What needs to be done (highest priority):
-More police officers patrolling by bike (it's hard to understand why they haven't embraced this for such a relatively small jurisdiction)
-Incentives to students and employees alike who commute by bike
-Work with county and state transportation personnel to improve the walkability and bikeability of bordering/feeder streets (in progress)
-Create a comprehensive and connected bicycling network, including bike lanes and sharrows (in progress)
-Implement bike registration
In the latest round of bicycle-friendly university awards given by the League, among the universities announced was the University of Miami. This is just unneeded proof that making the recommended changes is not only possible, but can be implemented quickly. However, what's needed before all is overall support from the FIU administration and staff - this will speed up the efforts tremendously.
by: Brandt Absolu