As students flock to the University Park Campus for classes this fall, they will find new, portable bike lanes flanking Trousdale Parkway.
A joint project by the Office of Student Affairs and the Undergraduate Student Government, the bike lanes, marked with “bike sharrows,” enable students to bike up and down Trousdale without interfering with pedestrian traffic. The lanes, on either side of the Trousdale median, are one of the many new sights that returning Trojans will notice as they traverse campus.
Dept. of Public Safety officers could be seen setting up large portable metal dividers on Trousdale during move-in day. These devices, which can be moved to accommodate an increase in either cycling or pedestrian traffic, are intended to decrease the risk factor in having bicyclists and pedestrians share the walkways.
For bikers around the university, the lanes provide a much-needed departure from the preconstruction on Trousdale, which was often a dangerous and difficult area for bikers to navigate.
“Biking on Trousdale, especially when school starts, is really tough and kind of crazy,” said Adrian Pedroza, a sophomore majoring in psychology. “I’ve even seen head on collisions.”
In the past, campus cyclists like Pedroza found themselves in the way of pedestrians; they were also forbidden to ride on Trousdale during peak hours. While that rule and other safety precautions, according to USC Student Affairs, are still in effect, DPS has been instructing confused travelers about the new lanes and how to use them. As students walk or bike down Trousdale, several officers guide them to the appropriate lanes: one large for walking, one small for biking.
The campus improvements are a response to a growing support for increased bike and pedestrian safety, and also to alarming statistics that detail the treachery of pedestrian and cyclist encounters.
A survey conducted by bikeusc.org, a campus cycling information group, reports that nearly 25 percent of USC’s undergraduate student body has had a collision with a bike in the past year. The same survey reports that 20 percent of undergraduate students have had no regular cycling experience prior to biking on campus.
“The bike lanes are a great idea,” Pedroza said. “They’ll help the pedestrians know to stay away from the designated areas.”