Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, January 6, 2012

Town hall meeting on campus bicycle use set for Jan. 24

Many who were on U-M's campus in the 1970s may recall free, unlocked bicycles scattered around campus for use by anyone to access campus destinations.

Like the City of Portland, Ore.'s now defunct Yellow Bikes Program — and other programs of this unregulated variety — the loosely organized, campus program could not survive loss rates from theft and vandalism and eventually folded.

 

While bicycling has continued as a popular campus commute mode since the '70s, "a new era in biking marked by infrastructure and program improvements is emerging at U-M," says Stephen Dolen, director of Parking & Transportation Services (PTS).

The attention to biking is timely, given the university's focus on sustainability and its ambitious goal of a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.

In an effort to garner input on the topic of campus bike programs, the Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS) and PTS will host a U-M Bike Town Hall Meeting at 4 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Vandenberg Room in the Michigan League. All students, faculty and staff are invited to learn about bicycling improvements planned at U-M, and to share ideas with a panel of administrators from key departments, including PTS, OCS, Rec Sports and the University Planner's office.

Jump-started by President Mary Sue Coleman's fall 2011 Sustainability Address to Campus, bike sharing once again is a popular topic at U-M.

A modern, automated bike-sharing program that includes wireless and solar technology, advanced membership options, sturdy unisex bicycles, and a network of docking stations allowing for one-way trips is drawing support campuswide. Representatives from PTS and the OCS recently joined a City of Ann Arbor task force devoted to advancing modern bike sharing and will discuss this at this program at the meeting.

While bike programs begin to evolve on the Ann Arbor campus, several infrastructure improvements have been made to existing bike systems, including:

• An expanded network of marked bike lanes and the addition of sharrows (shared road markings) on campus roads.

• The addition of the Thompson Street Enclosed/Secure Bicycle Parking Facility on Central Campus in 2010.

• Construction of covered bicycle parking at the newly built North Quad Residential and Academic Complex in 2011.

U-M Rec Sports Outdoor Adventures now offers regular bike maintenance clinics through a partnership with Common Cycle, a community-based organization founded by U-M students, and will kick-off a campuswide bike rental program in 2012 spring-summer term. The bike-rental program will feature two campus rental locations and offer bikes for hourly, daily, weekend and longer-term rental.

Further details on the town hall event can be found at sustainability.umich.edu/events/u-m-bike-town-hall, or by contacting Anya Dale, OCS, anyadale@umich.edu; or Lisa Solomon, PTS lsolomn@umich.edu.