Author Topic: Bikes for freshmen who don't bring cars to campus - we should do this  (Read 2148 times)

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Offline Sal Atticum

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http://www.ripon.edu/velorution/

This has only been done (as far as I know) at a few small residential schools.  How cool would it be if UND was the first large public university to embrace this type of commitment to reducing the parking problems on campus and the congestion every day down University Ave?

One change I would make would be to give these kids actual commuter bicycles rather than mountain bikes, especially since they want to promote, well, commuting, but in Grand Forks I could see the appeal, at least during the winter.

If you want to come out immediately and jump on this idea because of the weather we have here, fine, but hear me out.  If you start with a limited number of bicycles for the freshman class, you are going to attract a certain number of people who know what's going on and are willing to either bundle up when it snows, carpool, or take the bus to class.  This isn't a power play to convince anyone that cars are evil, it would be an opportunity for those students who can live without a car to show that it can be done, and a way to alleviate parking congestion for the rest of you.

Thoughts?

(I posted this on the UND board rather than the cycling club board because the point is to get feedback from people who don't already ride frequently or seriously.)
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Offline pmp6nl

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I think this is a really cool idea.  How would you get something like this started?  Could bikes be donated, maybe have advertisements on them to make them more affordable for the school to buy?  I know some schools have bikes that just float around campus for anyone's use -- and this is a bit different.  But I like the idea.  Now if only someone would pursue it and make it happen.
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Offline Sal Atticum

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I think schools have partnered with bicycle companies in the past to reduce the cost of the bicycles in exchange for the exposure.  I'm not sure extra advertisements would work-you want to give students something they want to ride, and covering a bicycle with ads might make you look "different and weird."

UND has tried the "green bikes" (shared bicycle program) thing a couple times in the last five years, with little success because there was no oversight and most of the bikes ended up either off-campus or tossed in the coulee.  This was also attempted at my undergrad, unfortunately the same thing happened and they moved the program to be an extension of the library, where you could "borrow" a bicycle on your student ID card.

That being said, I don't think bicycle access is the problem, and I don't want this idea to be about getting bicycles to people who can't otherwise get them.  It's more along the lines of encouraging people to give up their car for a year and see what happens.  There are full racks all over campus, and I'm pretty sure a large number of bicycles are just left behind at the end of the year, to get cut off and sold at the police auction, so finding a ride isn't the problem for the average student, it's breaking that automobile dependence.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Ah ok, gotcha.

The question is how do we get them to give up automobiles?  This is not going to be easy.  Perhaps we could look at Europe or other areas that have historically had lower usage of personal automobiles.  Have many studies been done on the subject?
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Offline Sal Atticum

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Ah ok, gotcha.

The question is how do we get them to give up automobiles?  This is not going to be easy.  Perhaps we could look at Europe or other areas that have historically had lower usage of personal automobiles.  Have many studies been done on the subject?
I think the answers to your last question can be found by looking through all of www.streetsblog.org.

The culture is different in the US, and even I have no idea how I would travel for long distances without a car (although it is easier in Europe with public transportation).  Here, cars=freedom, and telling Americans to give up freedom is . . . well, what it appears to be.  When I'm traveling to a larger city though, the best part of the trip is being able to park the car and forget about it, because I hate the stress of it all.
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Offline pmp6nl

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Ah ok, gotcha.

The question is how do we get them to give up automobiles?  This is not going to be easy.  Perhaps we could look at Europe or other areas that have historically had lower usage of personal automobiles.  Have many studies been done on the subject?
I think the answers to your last question can be found by looking through all of www.streetsblog.org.

The culture is different in the US, and even I have no idea how I would travel for long distances without a car (although it is easier in Europe with public transportation).  Here, cars=freedom, and telling Americans to give up freedom is . . . well, what it appears to be.  When I'm traveling to a larger city though, the best part of the trip is being able to park the car and forget about it, because I hate the stress of it all.

Thanks for the link.

Yea, the US culture is completely different in regards to things like cars... but its what most of us have grown up with (cars being the primary mode of transportation).  Perhaps its something that could be built into the culture over time.  Of course the use of bikes in larger cities is a lot more popular, for good reason.  The least we can do is try.
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