Plans for bike safety on campus released
Planning consultants, who are responsible for developing a plan to address bike issues at USC, unveiled a draft of their recommendations at a meeting in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom Wednesday.
In their presentation, consultants from Kendall Planning + Design identified four aspects of cycling that should be addressed: education and enforcement, campus bicycle access, bicycle parking and a campus circulation network.
The meeting was part of a daylong Bike Summit, which included a rally, an expo featuring bike-related organizations and breakout sessions. The recommendations include the addition of bike lanes, new parking racks, better signage and more limitations on biking.
‚ÄúNo decision has been made,‚ÄĚ said Director of Orientation Programs Thomas Studdert, who is heading the bike campaign. ‚ÄúWe are actively seeking the decisions of stakeholders. With that said, students need to provide that input.‚ÄĚ
The consultants released two options for creating a bicycle circulation system. The first option proposes extending the dismount zone for cyclists and creating a 24-hour bike loop, including a bike lane on Trousdale Parkway. The second option, which would benefit pedestrians, expands the dismount zone even further and pushes bikers to the perimeter of campus.
‚ÄúIt is much needed for Trousdale to have a bike lane because it is one of the main thoroughfares through campus,‚ÄĚ said Otto Hsiao, a sophomore majoring in business administration, after the presentation.
Both plans would restrict biking to main streets and would eliminate biking on narrow paths, including those near the Annenberg Building and Alumni Park.
Vice President for Student Affairs Michael L. Jackson said he hopes the findings will encourage stakeholders to pay more attention to bike issues.
‚ÄúWe are now at the point where I hope people will pay even more attention to [bike issues] because they know we will be making some choices about pedestrian safety [and] bike safety,‚ÄĚ Jackson said.
While Jackson ruled out the possibility of a total bike ban, he said changes to bike policy will definitely be made.
‚ÄúThere is no way we are going to ban bikes from USC,‚ÄĚ Jackson said. ‚ÄúBut we have to find a way to manage them better.‚ÄĚ
Approximately 100 students, faculty and staff attended the presentation, which encouraged dialogue among the affected groups.
‚ÄúWhat we are hoping is that … faculty, staff and students who are interested in this issue show up to hear about some of these ideas ‚Ä¶ and have an exchange of their thoughts about what USC can do to improve pedestrian safety and bike safety on campus,‚ÄĚ Jackson said.
Consultants from Kendall Planning + Design also released results from a survey of more than 2,000 respondents. The consultants based their findings and recommendations on meetings with affected groups, data analysis and observations of bike culture on campus.
Los Angeles Police Department and USC Dept. of Public Safety data from 2006 to 2011 showed that many collisions occurred in the area immediately surrounding campus.
‚ÄúWe saw high rates of collision off of Orchard [Avenue], Hoover [Street] and University [Way], which was a particularly bad offender,‚ÄĚ consultant Mark Simpson said during his presentation. ‚ÄúData like this demonstrates a need to look at off campus as well.‚ÄĚ
Jackson said he hopes the recommendations will be finalized by the end of the spring semester to allow time for the implementation of the policies.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôd like to get all this done by the end of spring so that when folks come in the fall, we‚Äôll have a new, hopefully improved, way of dealing with bikes,‚ÄĚ Jackson said. ‚ÄúWe are really gearing up for the next academic year.‚ÄĚ
Monique Ramirez, a graduate student studying education, said the Bike Summit was a productive meeting and highlighted the main concerns of bikers and pedestrians.
‚ÄúSome of what they said was really good, like improving the bike lanes around campus and biker education in general, for both bikers and pedestrians,‚ÄĚ Ramirez said.
The next summit will be held in April with updated recommendations.