Release Date: August 29, 2007
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo cyclists turned a new corner today when the university kicked off "Bicycling at UB," an initiative designed to improve bike riding to, from and across its three campuses.
Bicycling at UB features the university's first bicycle-registration program, the installation of additional, user-friendly bike racks to securely store more than 300 bikes across the campuses and the addition of bike racks to all UB Stampede buses.
It also marks the start of the university's first on-campus bicycle borrowing program as part of a partnership with Buffalo Blue Bicycles (BBB), the city-wide bicycle-lending program.
"This is an exciting, healthy and green initiative that we are thrilled to bring to our students, faculty and staff," said Maria Wallace, director of Parking and Transportation Services.
The free registration program deters bike thefts, aids in recovery of stolen bikes and will allow Parking and Transportation Services to collect information about cyclists to better target and promote cycling events and improvements on campus.
Any bicycles that are parked in unauthorized locations on campus will be tagged with a card, gently reminding owners where the closest bike racks are located.
"Bicycling at UB is a great step toward moving people away from single occupancy vehicles and driving to campus," said James Simon, associate environmental educator of UB Green, a co-sponsor of the program. "The registration program, the bikes on Stampede buses and Buffalo Blue Bicycles will break down a lot of the barriers that people who wanted to bike to campus used to come across."
The idea for Bicycling at UB came out of the cycling subcommittee of the UB Environmental Task Force, a group of faculty, staff and students committed to reducing the university's environmental impact through interdisciplinary collaboration.
According to Simon, who chairs the cycling subcommittee, 31 percent of UB's total greenhouse-gas emissions comes from faculty, staff and students commuting to campus and from UB's fleet of vehicles, a number that he hopes will start to decline with initiatives like Bicycling at UB.
The new bike racks have been installed at the Main Circle on the South Campus, at the Flint Loop, the Student Union and along Putnam Way on the North Campus, and at residence halls on both North and South campuses.
A key advantage of Bicycling at UB is that it allows cyclists for the first time to take their bikes onto the UB Stampede buses, facilitating biking on the campuses for those who commute between them.
The addition of Buffalo Blue Bicycle hubs also will have a major impact, said Wallace.
"It provides our students, faculty and staff members who do not have bicycles the opportunity to take advantage of this transportation alternative," said Wallace. "We want everyone to have the opportunity to bicycle."
For an annual fee of $25 or six hours of volunteer service, membership in BBB (see http://www.buffalobluebicycle.org) allows riders to borrow a bike from one of the UB campus hubs --racks that contain locked bikes -- for up to two days. Users receive a combination to one of the hub bikes when they reserve a bike online.
Wallace noted that students living near the South Campus, for example, who do not own bikes can borrow from the UB hubs on weekends to bike recreationally or do errands.
Hubs will be located at UB's New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences at Ellicott and Virginia streets; at the Main Circle, Clement Hall and the Rotary Road side of 220 Winspear on the South Campus; and at the Student Union, Flint Loop and the entrance to the Ellicott tunnel on the North Campus.
A total of 30 bikes will be available to the UB community for use from April to November.
"By providing a transportation alternative, we're helping the university with one of its stated goals: to alleviate parking and congestion, while providing a healthy, sustainable form of transportation for those who wish to utilize it," said Justin Booth, who runs the BBB program from the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo.
Bicycling at UB is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, including Parking and Transportation Services, University Police, University Residence Hall and Apartments, and Wellness Education Services. University Facilities and UB Green are co-sponsors.