Plans for campus bicycle use discussed at town hall meeting
More than 80 faculty, staff and students gathered Tuesday afternoon to learn of the future plans for improving bicycle transit on campus at U-M’s Bike Town Hall.
Hosted by the Office of Campus Sustainability (OCS) and Parking and Transportation Services (PTS), the meeting announced the plan to launch a bike rental program for rollout this spring. Administrators from Rec Sports and the University Planner’s office also were represented at the meeting and participated in a Q-and-A session.
Operated by Rec Sports, the bicycle rental program will offer bikes for hourly, daily and long-term rentals with access at two locations: Rec Sports' Outdoor Adventures and the North Campus Recreation Building.
“The bike rental program is our first, immediate step,” said Steve Dolen, executive director of Parking and Transportation Services. “As we are looking at making it into a more long-term program, we are assessing how we will apply a bike sharing program to campus.”
Once the program begins, Rec Sports will be responsible for maintaining the bikes purchased for the program. In the meantime, Rec Sports currently offers bike maintenance clinics through a partnership with Common Cycle, a community-based organization founded by U-M students.
“Every Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m., we have bike repair experts, tools and bike stands available. We have everything one needs to repair their bike,” said John Swerdlow, assistant director of Rec Sports.
Other planned improvements include assessing annual commute challenges, updates to maps on the PTS website and facility enhancements.
After the presentation the audience posed questions and offered feedback aimed to help guide the university toward prioritizing the needs and expectations for cyclists on campus.
"We are really pleased with the turnout for this meeting and we want to hear from the campus community on the biking issue," said Terry Alexander, executive director of OCS. "It is important as we move forward with our bike program efforts, we hear input from stakeholders and include that in our decisions.”
The top requested amenity by the audience was more secured, enclosed bike storage, similar to the existing Thompson Street Enclosed/Secure Bicycle Parking Facility.
Other requests included:
• Increased availability of covered bike storage at residence halls.
• Installation of bike storage facility in high-traffic, well-lit areas of campus.
• Better infrastructure for connectivity between North and Central campuses.
• Availability and use of bike racks on buses.
The bike rental program is a supportive step toward meeting the university’s overall sustainability goals, particularly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025.