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Student group hopes to keep bikes on campus

By Conrad wilton · Daily Trojan

Posted Today at 12:22 am (14 hours ago) in Featured, News

Faced with the possibility of reduced bike access and storage on campus, student group SC for Alternative Transportation has dedicated its efforts to making sure students never find out what a bike-free campus could look like.

Student group hopes to keep bikes on campus

Wrong turn · SC for Alternative Transportation suggests that USC install bike paths on campus. Campuses such as UCSB have more than seven miles of bike paths and 10,000 parking spaces. - James Watson | Daily Trojan

SCAT co-president Rachel Finfer, a senior majoring in policy, management and planning, said her organization views the university's current actions as unnecessary and irrational.

In a bicycle safety forum last week, Charlie Lane, associate senior vice president for Career and Protective Services, presented recommendations to ensure safety for bicyclists and pedestrians on the main parts of campus.

Lane said one option is banning bikes on Trousdale Parkway and Childs Way between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Some of the rationale behind eliminating Trousdale's bike racks lies with the university's concern for aesthetics, Lane said.

Alumni and donors found the racks unappealing and recommended their removal, he said.

"We will bring alternative policies to the Department of Public Safety and the administration," Finfer said.

Senior co-president Charlie Furman, a cinema-televison critical studies major, fears pushing bikes to the periphery will increase congestion, accidents and theft.

"I don't want to see an increase in accidents because of a higher concentration of bikes," he said.

Finfer says the best way to protect campus pedestrians from dangerous bikers is not to ban bike riding but to educate students about safe biking habits. SCAT plans to develop an online bike safety  course with this goal in mind.

"Bikes are efficient and safe," Finfer said. "Bike racks can be painted and you can make them pretty."

According to Finfer, the course will discourage bikers from multitasking while weaving through pedestrians and cars.

At the forum, Lane suggested implementing mandatory pre-orientation bike courses like AlcoholEdu and perhaps making bike safety classes a requirement for students who commit bike violations.  

Furman also stressed the importance of efficient infrastructure.

He said SCAT suggests the university provide better facilities for parking and riding bikes on campus.

SCAT is currently discussing solutions with graduate students from the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development about improving conditions for bikers.

SCAT also envisions the development of bike paths to separate pedestrians and bicyclists.

"You can fit all these bikes in a small area; other schools do," said Robert Foster, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and a member of SCAT. "The key is organization. You just have to separate pedestrians from bikers."

Many universities across the country offer bike paths and secure parking places to students. The League of American Bicyclists recognized UC-Santa Barbara this year for having more than seven miles of paved bike paths and more than  10,000 bicycle parking spaces.

Infrastructure and education are the two cornerstones SCAT will focus on while looking at  the university's actions. The organization plans to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the issue.

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