Published May 24, 2013
The League of American Bicyclists has designated UB as a “Bicycle Friendly University” at the bronze level, an award presented only to institutions with a strong commitment to cycling.
The Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) program recognizes institutions of higher education for promoting and providing a more bicycle-friendly campus for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The BFU program also provides the schools with technical assistance to create great campuses for cycling.
To receive the “bicycle-friendly” designation, colleges and universities are judged in five categories often referred to as the five “Es” of BFU: engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation and planning. A college or university must demonstrate achievement in each of the five categories in order to be considered for a designation at the bronze, silver, gold or platinum level.
The League of American Bicyclists named nine new and one renewing Bicycle Friendly Universities this fall for a total of 44 universities in 25 states holding the BFU designation in 2012. UB joins Cornell University and the Rochester Institute of Technology as the only schools in New York to receive the award.
“We certainly are pleased that we received the bronze designation,” says Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services. “There’s more we can do to make UB even more bike-friendly, but this award acknowledges great work done to date and encourages us to expand our future efforts.”
The designation from the League of American Bicyclists is for four years. UB must renew its status again in 2016, at which time the university may be eligible for gold or platinum designation.
While UB’s efforts have been ongoing for many years, they began to come together with the formation of the Bicycling at UB program in 2007. Through this program, UB faculty and staff campuswide have come together in an effort to improve the biking experience at UB.
The program’s achievements over the past five years have been significant: more than 800 bike parking spaces are currently designated, bike lanes were added to connect Lee Road to the Ellicott Complex, a bike-share program through GO Bike Buffalo and Buffalo Car Share was launched, and showers for cyclists were made available in Greiner Hall and Creekside Village apartments for riders who want to freshen up after a long commute.
And as improvements continue to be made, the number of cyclists on campus continues to rise, according to Christopher Austin, assistant director of parking and transportation services. In 2008, the number of riders who loaded their bikes onto racks attached to the UB Stampede buses was 1,133; by 2011 that number had risen to 4,640.
In the near future, Bicycling at UB plans to increase the number of bike lanes on-campus, add more covered bike parking spaces and devise ways to link off-campus and on-campus bike facilities.
The program also plans to implement SeeClickFix, a web tool used to report non-emergency neighborhood issues, into the Bicycling at UB website for streamlined notifications of cycling-related concerns.
These improvements complement and build upon UB’s efforts for campus sustainability. Every trip made by bicycle reduces greenhouse gas emissions; that riders can save on gas and get a little exercise is an added bonus.